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Full text of "On the domesticated animals of the British islands: comprehending the natural and economical history of species and varieties; the description of the properties of external form; and observations on the principles and practice of breeding"

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OF    THE 









DAVID  LOW,  ESQ.,  F.E.S.E., 










FROM   early  times,    Great  Britain   has  been    distin- 
guished for  the  numbers  and  excellence  of  the  Animals 
reared  for  the  uses  of  the  inhabitants.    The  cultivation 
of  the  Horse  began  in  the  earlier  periods  of  our  history, 
for  the  purposes  of  War  and  the  tournament,  and  has 
subsequently  been  carried  to  great  perfection,  for  the 
race-course,  the  chase,  the  saddle,  and  for  draught. 
The'  cultivation  of  Sheep  was  early  the  subject  of  pub- 
lic attention,  and,  as  being  connected  with  the  woollen 
manufactures  of  the  country,  was  favoured  by  numerous 
laws  ;  and  within  a  period  comparatively  recent,  extra- 
ordinary attention  has  been  devoted  to  the  means  of 
cultivating  animals  for  human  food.     It  is  during  this 
latter  era,  which  began  about  the  middle  of  last  cen- 
tury, that  the  greatest  additions  have  been  made  to  the 
value  of  the  Live-stock  of  the  country,  and  that  the 
practice  of  breeding  has  been  reduced  to  a  system,  and 
founded  upon  principles. 
Of  the  species  of  the  Domesticated  Animals  natural- 


ized  in  the  British  Islands,  numerous  varieties  present 
themselves,  to  which  we  apply  the  term  Breeds.  The 
characters  of  species  may  have  been  imprinted  by  ori- 
ginal organization,  or  may  have  been  the  result  of  laws 
of  organic  development  and  change,  of  whose  nature 
and  operation  we  are  ignorant.  The  characters  which 
distinguish  varieties  are  those  which  may  reasonably  be 
ascribed  to  known  agencies,  as  climate,  and  the  supplies 
of  food.  The  differences  of  character,  indeed,  produced 
by  agencies  of  this  kind,  may  be  very  great;  and,  in 
the  case  of  many  animals,  the  naturalist  may  be  left  in 
doubt,  whether  the  differences  observed  are  the  result 
of  original  organization,  or  of  more  recent  changes. 
But  however  species  may  have  originated,  or  varieties 
have  been  produced,  all  animals  submitted  to  domesti- 
cation are  subject  to  modifications  of  size,  form,  and 
other  characters,  dependent  on  the  conditions  under 
which  they  are  reared ;  and  by  breeding,  we  can  com- 
municate the  distinctive  properties  of  parents  to  the 

In  the  rural  economy  of  this  country,  a  high  degree 
of  importance  is  to  be  ascribed  to  a  knowledge  of  the 
distinctive  characters  of  Races  or  Breeds.  Much  of 
the  profit  of  the  owners  depends  upon  adapting  the 
breed  of  any  animal  to  the  circumstances  in  which  it 
is  to  be  placed.  By  rearing,  for  example,  a  breed  of 
large  and  delicate  oxen,  in  a  country  unsuited,  from  its 
natural  or  artificial  productions,  to  maintain  it,  we 
incur  the  hazard  of  loss  in  various  wavs ;  while,  on  the 


other  hand,  by  rearing  an  inferior  breed  in  situations 
where  one  of  greater  value  could  be  maintained,  we 
deprive  ourselves  of  the  profit  which  the  natural  or 
acquired  advantages  of  our  situation  present. 

An  error  of  another  kind  is  the  subject  of  constant 
observation,  the  result  likewise  of  imperfect  knowledge 
of  the  distinctive  characters  of  breeds.     For  the  pro- 
curing of  a  breed  adapted  to  the  situation  in  which  it 
is  to  be  reared,  two  general  methods  may  be  pursued ; 
either  a  new  breed  may  be  substituted  for  that  which 
exists,  or  the  old  one  may  have  its  characters  modified 
or  changed  by  crossing  with  other  races.     There  are 
many  cases  in  which  scarcely  an  error  can  be  commit- 
ted in  our  practice  in  these  respects,  provided  we  resort 
to  a  really  superior  race;  but  there  are  many  other 
cases  in  which  a  change  of  this  kind  may  be  injurious, 
or  attended  with  doubtful  benefit.      Animals  become 
gradually  adapted  to  the  conditions  in  which  they  are 
placed,  'and  many  breeds  have  accordingly  become  ad- 
mirably suited  to  the  physical  state  of  the  country  in 
which  they  have  been  naturalized.      Thus,  the  West 
Highland  Breed  of  cattle  has  become  suited  to  a  humid 
climate  and  a  country  of  mountains ;    the  beautiful 
breed  of  North  Devon,  to  a  country  of  lower  altitude 
and  milder  climate.     In  these,  and  many  cases  more, 
an  intermixture  of  stranger  blood  might  destroy  the 
characters  which  time  had  imprinted  on  the  stock,  and 
produce  a  progeny  inferior  in  useful  properties  to  either 
of  the  parent  races.    Not  only  have  individual  breeders 


erred  in  the  application  of  this  kind  of  crossing  to 
practice  in  particular  cases,  but  several  entire  breeds 
have  been  lost  which  ought  to  have  been  preserved. 
There  are  many  breeds,  indeed,  so  defective  in  them- 
selves, that  time  and  capital  would  have  been  lost  in 
endeavouring  to  cultivate  them ;  but  not  a  few,  as  will 
be  seen  in  the  sequel,  might  have  been  improved  to 
the  degree  required,  by  mere  selection  of  parents,  and 
attention  to  the  known  principles  of  breeding. 

Not  only  do  animals  become  adapted  in  constitution, 
temperament,  and  habits,  to  the  situations  in  which 
they  have  been  naturalized,  but  characters  Communi- 
cated by  art  become  permanent  by  continued  repro- 
duction. Thus,  in  the  case  of  the  Dairy  Breed  of 
Ayrshire,  by  breeding  from  females  that  possess  the 
property  of  yielding  a  large  quantity  of  milk,  a  pecu- 
liar breed  has  been  at  length  formed,  exceedingly  well 
suited  to  the  purposes  of  the  dairy,  and  at  the  same 
time  hardy  and  fitted  to  subsist  on  ordinary  food. 
Now,  such  a  breed  might  be  injured,  and  not  im- 
proved, by  crossing  even  with  a  race  superior  to  itself 
in  many  properties.  Thus,  a  cross  with  the  Durham 
or  Hereford  Breeds  would  produce  animals  of  larger 
size  and  superior  fattening  properties  to  the  native 
race  ;  but  even  in  these  properties,  the  progeny  would 
be  inferior  to  either  the  Herefords  or  the  Durhams, 
and  inferior,  as  a  hardy  race  of  dairy  cattle,  to  the 
Ayrshire  Breed  itself.  Hence,  the  crossing  of  a  breed 
of  cattle  with  a  race  apparently  superior,  will  not 


always  be  attended  with  ultimate  good;  and  caution 
and  knowledge  of  the  end  to  be  arrived  at  are  required 
even  in  the  cases  where  the  good  seems  most  easily 

Another  error  of  a  different  kind,  but  proceeding  like- 
wise from  imperfect  knowledge  of  the  relative  value  of 
breeds,  prevails  to  a  great  extent.  Breeds,  in  themselves 
bad,  are  obstinately  retained  in  districts  fitted  to  sup- 
port superior  races.  In  every  part  of  the  kingdom,  we 
see  breeds  which  are  unworthy  of  being  preserved,  while 
the  easiest  means  are  at  the  command  of  the  farmer 
of  supplying  their  place  by  others  suited  to  the  lo- 
cality. Thus,  over  the  greater  part  of  Wales,  there  are 
races  of  wild  diminutive  Sheep,  which,  in  economical 
value,  can  bear  no  comparison  with  those  which  could  be 
supplied  from  other  places.  In  Kerry,  and  other 
mountainous  districts  stretching  along  the  western 
coast  of  Ireland,  in  place  of  such  Sheep  as  the  coun- 
try could  maintain,  are  to  be  seen  assemblages  of 
animals  of  the  size  of  dogs,  and  as  wild  as  antelopes, 
neither  having  wool  fitted  to  the  manufactures  of  the 
country,  nor  being  capable  of  fattening  to  any  size. 
Even  in  the  heart  of  Yorkshire,  as  we  shall  see  in  the 
sequel,  a  breed  of  Sheep  is  preserved,  covering  a  con- 
siderable tract  of  country,  which,  from  its  coarseness 
of  form,  and  inaptitude  to  fatten,  ranks  in  the  lowest 
class  of  cultivated  Sheep  in  England;  and  in  every 
part  of  the  kingdom,  we  may  see  examples  of  the  vast 
public  and  private  loss  which  results  from  unacquaint- 


ance  with  the  relative  value  and  economical  uses  of  the 
different  breeds  of  our  domesticated  animals. 

To  remove  the  causes  of  mistaken  practice,  in  a 
branch  of  industry  so  important  to  the  interests  of 
producers  and  consumers,  may  be  regarded  as  matter 
of  national  interest.  Prom  the  produce  of  live-stock 
in  this  country,  a  large  part  of  the  subsistence  of  the 
people,  of  the  materials  of  our  manufactures,  of  the 
profits  of  the  farmer,  and  of  the  revenue  of  the  land- 
holder, is  derived.  In  many  parts  of  the  kingdom 
tillage  is  difficult  or  impracticable,  and  the  only  valu- 
able production  is  live-stock ;  and  it  is  not  too  much 
to  assert,  that  half  the  rental  of  the  British  Islands 
is  derived  from  this  source.  These  considerations  will 
make  it  appear,  how  much  the  study  and  advancement 
of  this  department  of  rural  economy  merit  the  atten- 
tion of  those  who  seek  to  widen  the  channels  of  native 

Several  years  ago  I  published  an  account  of  the 
Breeds  of  the  more  important  Domesticated  Animals 
of  this  country, — the  Horse,  the  Ox,  the  Sheep,  the 
Goat,  the  Hog, — accompanied  by  an  extensive  series  of 
coloured  lithographic  prints,  being  portraits  of  animals 
of  the  different  races,  selected  from  the  stocks  of  the 
most  eminent  breeders  in  different  parts  of  the  king- 
dom. This  Work,  in  two  large  Volumes,  is  before  the 
public,  and  has  been  republished  in  other  countries. 
It  has  appeared  to  me,  that  the  substance  of  it  might 
be  presented  to  agriculturists  in  a  different  and  less 



expensive  form,  and  thus  be  adapted  to  more  general 
use.  I  have,  accordingly,  re-written  the  description  of 
the  species  and  varieties,  adding  such  remarks  on  the 
properties  of  external  form,  and  the  principles  and 
practice  of  breeding,  as  may  supply,  in  part,  the  want 
of  the  original  figures.  I  have  likewise  added  to  the 
description  of  the  other  animals,  that  of  the  Dog,  both 
on  account  of  the  general  interest  of  the  subject,  and 
of  its  particular  relation  to  the  production  of  varieties, 
and  the  effects  of  breeding. 









WOOL,  .  .  .  . 


1.  The  Breeds  of  the  Zetland  and  Orkney  Islands, 

2.  The  Soft-Woolled  Sheep  of  Scotland, 

3.  The  Breed  of  the  Higher  Welsh  Mountains, 

4.  The  Soft-Woolled  Sheep  of  Wales, 

5.  The  Breed  of  the  Wicklow  Mountains, 

6.  The  Kerry  Breed,      .... 

7.  The  Forest  Breeds  of  England, 

8.  The  Black-Faced  Heath  Breed, 

9.  The  Cheviot  Breed, 

10.  The  Old  Norfolk  Breed, 

11.  The  Penistone  Breed, 

12.  The  Old  Wiltshire  Breed,      . 

13.  The  Dorset  Breed,      .... 

14.  The  Merino  Breed, 

15.  The  Ryeland  Breed, 

16.  The  South  Down  Breed, 

17.  The  Old  Lincoln  Breed, 

18.  The  Romney  Marsh  Breed, 

19.  The  Older  Long-Woolled  Breeds,      . 

20.  The  Cotswold  Breed, 

21.  The  New  Leicester  Breed,     .  .  . 




























SPECIES  AND  VARIETIES,                ....  207 

THE  DAIKY,             ......  267 


1.  The  Wild  or  White  Forest  Breed,     ...  296 

2.  The  Zetland  Breed,                 ....  ib. 

3.  The  West  Highland  Breed,                 ...  300 

4.  The  Pembroke  Breed,             ....  304 

5.  The  Kerry  Breed,      .....  309 

6.  The  Angus  Breed,      .....  312 

7.  The  Polled  Aberdeenshire  Breed,      .             .             .  315 

8.  The  Galloway  Breed,              ....  317 

9.  The  Polled  Suffolk  Breed,      ....  322 

10.  The  Polled  Irish  Breed,          ....  327 

11.  The  Falkland  Breed,               ....  328 

12.  The  Alderney  Breed,              ....  333 

13.  The  Ayrshire  Breed,               ....  339 

14.  The  Devon  Breed,      .....  345 

15.  The  Sussex  Breed,      .....  351 

16.  The  Glamorgan  Breed,           ....  356 

17.  The  Herefordshire  Breed,      ....  362 

18.  The  Long-Horned  Breed,      ....  367 

19.  The  Short-Horned  Breed,       .             .             .             .  379 


SPECIES  AND  VARIETIES,                 ....  395 

BREEDS,  viz. : — 

The  Siamese  Breed,          .....  425 

The  Breeds  of  the  Highlands  and  Islands  o£  Scotland,  429 

The  Old  English  Breeds,               ....  ib. 

,The  Berkshire  Breed,  &c.,             ....  431 



SPECIES  AND  VARIETIES,                ....  435 

CLASSES  AND  BREEDS  OF  BRITISH  HORSES,           .            .  503 

1.  THE  RACE-HORSE,      .....  525 

2.  THE  HUNTER,             .....  587 


viz.  :— 

The  Old  English  Coach-Horse,      .  .  .      .          601 

The  Cleveland  Bay,            ....  602 

The  Hackney,        .             .             .                           .  604 

The  Cavalry  Horse,           ...  ib. 

4.  HORSES  FOR  HEAVY  DRAUGHT,  viz.: — 

1.  The  Old  English  Black  Horse,       .              .  608 

2.  Breeds  of  the  North-Eastern  Counties,      .              .  613 



3.  The  Clydesdale  Breed, 

4.  The  Suffolk  Punch  Breed, 






Dogs  of  the  Arctic  Regions, 

Shepherd's  Dogs, 

Great  Dog  of  Newfoundland, 


Irish  Wolf-Dog, 




Dog  of  St  Bernard, 

Old  British  Blood-hound, 





3.  THE  SPANIEL,     . 











Introduction,  p.  Ixxiii,  line  15  from  bottom, /or  scapula  read  sternum 




ALL  bodies  may,  with  relation  to  their  modes  of  existence, 
be  divided  into  two  great  classes,  the  first  comprehending 
those  which  consist  of  common  matter,  subject  to  the  laws 
of  chemical  action  ;  the  second  comprehending  the  bodies  in 
which  matter  is  further  subject  to  those  other  laws  to  which 
matter  endowed  with  life  is  subject.  A  stone,  a  metal,  or  a 
piece  of  earth,  is  common  matter,  subject  to  known  chemical 
actions.  A  plant  or  an  animal  is  likewise  matter,  subject  to 
changes  of  place,  or  disposition  of  its  constituent  particles,  by 
chemical  forces.  But,  while  the  plant  or  the  animal  lives,  it 
is  under  the  influence  of  other  powers,  and  has  its  form,  ac- 
tions, and  relations,  determined  and  controlled  by  a  distinct 
system  of  laws.  It  is  then  a  living  body,  and  it  is  only  when 
it  ceases  to  live  that  it  becomes  wholly  subject  to  the  chemi- 
cal laws  of  common  matter. 

Of  the  laws  which  produce  the  condition  to  which  we  ap- 
ply the  term  Life,  we  know  nothing  but  from  certain  pheno- 
mena which  the  living  body  presents.  The  essential  cause  is 
amongst  those  ultimate  truths  which  human  reason  cannot 
reach.  No  approach  has  been  made  to  solve  the  mystery  of 
Life ;  and  at  this  hour  we  are  as  ignorant  of  the  cause  of  life, 
and  of  the  agency  which  connects  the  powers  of  mind  and 
the  mechanism  of  the  body,  as  at  the  first  dawning  of  human 



Of  living  bodies  there  are  two  great  divisions,  the  Vege- 
table and  the  Animal.  In  the  vegetable  there  is  life,  but,  so 
far  as  we  know,  there  is  no  sensation,  nor  power  of  motion 
dependent  upon  the  will.  In  the  animal  there  is  sensation, 
and  the  power  of  voluntary  motion.  An  aphorism  frequently 
quoted  is,  that  plants  grow  and  live  ;  that  animals  grow,  live, 
and  feel.  Life,  then,  pervades  both  kingdoms  ;  but  life,  in  the 
animal,  performs  other  functions,  and  sensation  is  added  to 
the  powers  merely  vital. 

Besides  that  distinction  between  common  matter,  and  mat- 
ter under  the  influence  of  the  vital  principle,  which  is  founded 
on  the  different  powers  and  functions  of  bodies,  there  is  an- 
other distinction,  obvious  to  the  senses,  founded  on  the  dif- 
ferent structure  and  form  of  the  bodies.  Matter  uninfluenced 
by  the  powers  of  life,  presents  itself  in  masses,  or  in  regular 
forms  termed  crystalline.  In  living  bodies,  the  particles  con- 
stituting the  organism  do  not  arrange  themselves  in  masses 
or  crystals,  but  form  fibres,  sacs,  tubes,  or  other  parts,  suited 
to  particular  functions.  This  structure  is  termed  organiza- 
tion, and  is  proper  to  the  living  kingdom,  vegetable  and  ani- 
mal. Hence  the  further  distinction  exists  between  the  mine- 
ral and  living  kingdoms  of  nature,  of  Organic  and  Inorganic. 
Inorganic  matter  has  its  substance  increased  by  the  addi- 
tion of  further  particles.  Organic  matter  is  likewise  increas- 
ed by  the  addition  of  further  parts,  but  then  it  adds  to  its 
own  substance  by  the  action  of  its  proper  organs.  A  mineral 
is  increased  in  volume  or  weight  by  the  simple  addition  of 
new  parts  :  a  plant,  or  an  animal,  deriving  matter  from  other 
substances,  converts  it,  by  the  action  of  its  organs,  into  the 
various  tissues  which  constitute  its  own  substance.  Organic 
bodies,  therefore,  only  can  be  said  to  grow. 

As  the  particles  of  living  bodies  are  determined  and  con- 
trolled in  their  actions  and  relations  by  peculiar  forces,  so 
living  bodies  resist  changes,  physical  and  chemical,  which,  in 
the  dead  state,  would  take  place.  The  influence  of  heat, 
moisture,  or  other  agents,  which  would  subvert  the  union  of 

the  par 

..  „  V  - 


the  particles  of  a  body  when  dead,  can  be  resisted  by  the 
same  body  when  it  is  endowed  with  life.  Animals,  when  alive, 
have  the  power  of  resisting  extremes  of  heat,  which  acting 
upon  the  dead  body  would  dry  up  and  dissipate  its  fluid  parts, 
nay,  reduce  it  to  a  cinder.  Many  persons  have  subjected 
themselves  to  a  temperature  of  the  air  far  exceeding  that  of 
boiling  water,  and  yet  the  heat  of  the  body  itself  has  very 
little  exceeded  that  of  its  natural  state.  A  few  years  ago 
a  French  mountebank  exhibited,  night  after  night,  to  thou- 
sands of  spectators,  in  London,  his  power  of  entering  a  heat- 
ed oven,  in  which  he  remained  while  a  piece  of  flesh  was 
roasted.  A  coal-mine  in  Scotland,  in  the  valley  of  the  Forth, 
having  taken  fire,  burned  for  years,  and  long  resisted  all  the 
attempts  to  extinguish  it.  Miners  frequently  worked  in  the 
vicinity  of  this  burning  mine,  when  the  heat  of  the  air  was 
nearly  equal  to  that  of  boiling  water.  They  pursued  their 
labour  in  this  torrid  atmosphere,  without  seeming  injury  to 
their  health,  or  other  inconvenience  than  continued  perspira- 
tion :  and  many  more  examples  could  be  given  of  the  power 
of  the  animal  frame  to  resist  extreme  heat,  while  the  tempe- 
rature of  the  blood  and  other  fluids  within  the  body  remained 
without  sensible  change. 

As  the  vital  powers  of  the  animal  enable  the  body  to  resist 
intense  heat,  so  they  enable  it  to  resist  excessive  cold.  At 
degrees  of  temperature  at  which  all  the  fluids  of  the  dead 
body  would  be  frozen,  the  living  body  retains  its  natural 
temperature,  and  performs  its  wonted  functions.  Even  in 
these  latitudes  of  ours,  there  every  year  occur  periods  of 
cold,  when  the  temperature  of  the  external  air  is  below  that 
at  which  water  congeals,  and  at  which  all  the  fluids  of  the 
body  would  freeze  were  they  separated  from  it.  In  countries 
of  the  higher  latitudes,  the  mean  temperature  of  the  year  falls 
below  the  melting  point  of  ice,  and  yet  such  countries  are  in- 
habited by  numerous  animals.  The  recent  voyages  of  intrepid 
travellers,  the  Parrys,  the  Franklins,  the  Rosses,  and  others, 
have  shewn  that,  at  a  degree  of  cold  below  that  at  which 


mercury  freezes,  the  human  beings  subjected  to  it  can  take 
their  wonted  exercise  and  perform  their  accustomed  duties. 
Nay,  there  are  cases  to  shew  that  certain  animals  may  have 
the  great  mass  of  their  fluids  frozen,  and  yet  be  preserved 
from  death.  Fishes  have  been  dragged  up  from  the  circum- 
polar  seas,  which  froze,  as  the  nets  were  in  the  course  of  be- 
ing raised,  into  masses  so  hard  that  they  might  have  been 
shivered  to  pieces  by  a  stroke,  and  yet  they  would  recover  if 
thawed.  A  common  eel  has  been  frozen  like  a  piece  of  ice, 
and  been  conveyed  in  a  state  of  torpor  thousands  of  miles, 
and  then  been  restored  to  its  state  of  activity  by  the  applica- 
tion of  warmth. 

But  there  are  degrees  of  cold  to  which  the  frame  of  cer- 
tain animals  in  their  state  of  activity  is  unsuited.  Nature 
here  provides  a  remedy  by  rendering  them  torpid  in  the  ab- 
sence of  necessary  heat.  Thus  innumerable  insects  are  ren- 
dered insensible  to  the  action  of  the  external  air  during  the 
winter  season.  In  the  case  of  the  animals  termed  hyber- 
nating,  sensation  becomes  suspended,  the  fluids  of  the  body 
circulate  more  slowly,  and  respiration  and  all  the  vital  ac- 
tions become  less  active.  The  torpor  of  the  creature  is  like 
death  rather  than  sleep,  and  yet  enough  of  vital  action  re- 
mains to  preserve  it  from  the  external  agents,  which,  in  its 
condition  of  activity,  would  destroy  it.  It  remains  as  if  dead, 
but  as  soon  as  the  air  recovers  the  due  warmth,  the  vital 
functions  of  the  animal  regain  their  powers,  and  it  awakens 
from  its  long  trance.  The  dormouse,  the  marmot,  the  hedge- 
hog, the  bat,  are  with  us  familiar  examples  of  animals  that 
undergo  this  state  of  winter  sleep,  during  which  they  are 
so  dead  to  feeling  that  they  may  be  tossed  about,  nay, 
sometimes  have  the  limbs  separated  from  the  body,  or  the 
most  vital  parts  exposed,  without  their  exhibiting  symptoms 
of  sensation.  The  swallow,  which  migrates  to  us  in  the 
early  part  of  summer,  quits  us  on  the  approach  of  the  colder 
season.  But  some,  too  young  or  too  feeble  for  flight,  remain 
behind.  These  betake  themselves  to  holes  in  walls  and  the 


earth,  to  remain  in  their  state  of  slumber  till  the  return  of  the 
warmer  season  shall  call  them  again  into  life.  And  other  mi- 
gratory birds,  as  the  cuckoo  and  the  corn- rail,  are  sometimes 
overtaken  by  this  sleep  of  winter  before  they  have  been  able 
to  make  their  periodical  flight,  during  which  they  may  be 
tossed  about  without  their  moving  a  joint  of  the  body. 

The  lower  tribes  of  animals,  whose  sensations  are  obtuse, 
present  examples  yet  more  striking  than  the  higher  tribes  of 
the  power  of  the  living  principle  to  preserve  the  animal  organ- 
ism from  the  action  of  external  agents.  Many  species  will 
survive  the  most  cruel  torments,  and  revive  after  a  long 
period  of  seeming  death.  Certain  species  of  vibrio  have  been 
so  dessicated  by  the  sun  that  they  have  become  like  dust, 
and,  after  twenty  years,  have  been  restored  to  life  by  sprink- 
ling them  with  a  little  water. 

Of  the  power  of  the  living  body  to  resist  those  agents 
which  would  otherwise  act  upon  and  decompose  it,  an  ex- 
ample is  furnished  by  a  substance,  the  production  of  the 
body  itself.  The  gastric  juice  is  secreted  from  the  interior 
of  the  stomach,  and  is  employed  to  dissolve  the  food  which  is 
received  into  the  alimentary  canal.  This  substance  possesses 
a  prodigious  solvent  power,  yet  it  never  acts  upon  the  living 
organs  with  which  it  comes  into  contact  in  the  body,  although 
capable  of  dissolving  all  animal  matters  when  deprived  of 
life.  Numerous  parasitic  creatures  are  formed  to  live  in  the 
stomachs  of  other  animals.  When  alive  they  resist  all  the 
actions  of  the  powerful  solvent  by  which  they  are  surrounded, 
but  the  moment  life  is  extinct  in  them,  they  become  subject 
to  its  powers,  and  undergo  decomposition. 

Examples,  too,  of  the  property  of  bodies  having  life  to 
resist  those  agents  which  would  destroy  them  in  their  dead 
state,  may  be  everywhere  drawn  from  the  vegetable  king- 
dom. All  the  hardier  forest  trees  resist  the  intensest  cold 
of  the  climates  where  they  are  naturalized,  and  the  vegetable 
juices  remain  without  being  frozen.  Every  perfect  seed  con- 
tains within  itself  an  embryo  plant,  which  only  requires  the 


fitting  influence  of  heat  and  moisture  that  it  may  become  a 
living  plant  similar  to  the  parent.  But  seeds  which  had  been 
buried  deep  in  the  earth  for  a  period  beyond  computation, 
have  been  found  to  vegetate  and  grow  when  exposed  again 
to  the  influence  of  air,  heat,  and  moisture.  Earth  turned  up 
from  the  bottom  of  wells  and  mines,  has  been  found  to  give 
birth  to  plants  whose  seeds  had  been  mixed  with  it,  and 
which  may  have  remained  for  many  thousand  ages  beneath 
the  surface  of  the  ground. 

Death,  as  well  as  life,  is  a  law  of  Nature,  and  life  with  all 
its  powers  is  but  the  gift  of  a  season.  The  organised  fabric, 
so  marvellously  formed,  contains  within  itself  the  germs  of 
decay.  The  circulating  fluids  become  more  thick,  the  textures 
more  rigid,  and  the  vital  organs  less  fitted  to  perform  their 
functions.  The  balance  is  lost  between  the  waste  of  the 
system  and  the  means  of  supplying  its  parts  with  nutriment ; 
and  thus,  independently  of  all  external  injury,  the  time  ar- 
rives when  the  mechanism  of  the  body  can  no  longer  work 
with  the  vigour  required  to  maintain  the  animal  functions. 

And  when  life  at  length  ceases  to  animate  the  organised 
fabric,  the  change  that  ensues  in  the  body  marks  the  cessa- 
tion of  all  those  powers  which  had  enabled  it  to  resist  the 
chemical  effects  of  the  agents  with  which  it  had  been  sur- 
rounded from  the  period  of  its  existence.  Some  of  its  parts 
are  exceedingly  hard  and  durable,  as  the  bones ;  but  they 
are  no  otherwise  distinguished,  in  their  subjection  to  che- 
mical agencies,  from  the  flesh  and  softer  parts  which  are 
subject  to  so  rapid  a  change.  The  heat  which  pervaded  the 
animal  frame,  and  which  may  be  believed  to  have  arisen  from 
within  by  the  exercise  of  the  vital  actions,  is  gone,  the  muscles 
have  lost  their  power,  and  all  the  gifts  of  thought  and  con- 
sciousness have  been  seemingly  taken  away. 

The  living  kingdom,  we  see,  comprehends  two  great  divi- 
sions, the  vegetable  and  the  animal ;  and  each  of  these  king- 
doms is  divided  into  innumerable  species  and  tribes  of  crea- 
tures, distinguished  by  their  form,  powers,  functions,  and 



relations  with  the  world  which  they  inhabit.  In  both  king- 
doms, we  find  not  only  an  infinite  diversity  of  organised 
structures,  but  a  passing  from  simple  to  more  complex  forms. 
In  the  beings,  the  lowest  in  the  scale  of  either  kingdom,  the 
organs  are  few,  or  imperfectly  developed.  As  we  ascend  in 
the  scale,  further  parts  appear,  further  organs  are  called  into 
play,  and  further  powers  are  given.  At  the  lowest  point, 
the  tribes  of  the  two  kingdoms  seem  allied,  and  proceed,  as 
it  were,  from  a  common  root,  and  then  progressively  diverge. 
In  the  simplest  of  plants,  little  can  be  discovered  beyond  a 
series  of  minute  cells.  As  we  ascend  in  the  scale,  we  find 
tubes  traversing  this  tissue,  leaves  unfolded,  and  other  or- 
gans called  forth.  So,  in  the  animal  kingdom,  we  find  a  pro- 
gressive advance  from  simple  to  complex  forms  of  structure. 
At  the  limits  of  the  descending  scale  are  creatures  so  simple 
in  their  organism,  that  they  are  scarcely  to  be  distinguished 
by  the  eye  from  plants ;  and,  like  plants,  they  are  fixed  to 
the  spot  which  they  inhabit.  Ascending  higher,  we  find 
creatures  with  more  expanded  powers  and  more  developed 
organs,  and  so,  in  an  ascending  series,  until  we  reach  those 
in  which  the  highest  development  is  presented  to  us  of  the 
organs  necessary  for  the  exercise  of  the  animal  functions. 

By  the  term  Species,  naturalists  designate  those  animals 
which  are  essentially  alike  in  themselves  and  their  progeny. 
The  number  of  animal  species  is  exceedingly  great.  Many 
thousands  have  been  examined  and  arranged  by  the  unspar- 
ing labour  of  naturalists  ;  thousands  are  known  imperfectly ; 
and  thousands  must  for  ever  escape  our  observation.  Of  the 
individuals  comprehended  under  these  species,  the  numbers 
exceed  our  powers  of  conception.  The  air  is  alive  with  liv- 
ing creatures ;  every  plant  has  its  crowds  of  inhabitants  ;  and 
all  the  waters  of  the  sea  and  land  teem  with  life.  Numbers 
of  these  creatures  are  so  minute,  that  some  hundred  thou- 

nds  may  exist  in  a  drop  of  water. 

In  order  to  classify  these  innumerable  forms  of  life,  they 
are  arranged  into  Groups,  the  members  of  which  agree  in 


certain  characters.  The  most  general  or  comprehensive  of 
these  divisions  are  termed  Kingdoms,  Sub-Kingdoms,  &c. 
These,  again,  are  divided  into  Classes,  Orders,  Families,  or 
Tribes ;  and  these,  again,  into  Genera  or  little  Families, 
consisting  of  one  or  more  Species,  that  is,  of  animals  essen- 
tially alike  in  themselves  and  their  progeny.  The  lowest 
division  that  can  be  made  is  into  Varieties,  Races,  or  Breeds, 
which  consist  of  animals  agreeing  in  the  characters  which 
we  term  specific,  but  differing  in  certain  minor  characters, 
assumed  to  be  the  result  of  known  agencies,  as  climate, 
temperature,  and  food.  The  classifications  most  commonly 
received  are  founded  upon  that  of  the  illustrious  Cuvier,  who 
divided  the  whole  animal  kingdom  into  four  great  groups, 
namely,  1.  Radiata,  or  Radiated  Animals  ;  2.  Articulata,  or 
Jointed  Animals ;  3.  Mollusca,  or  Soft  Animals ;  4.  Verte- 
brata,  or  Animals  having  the  basis  of  the  nervous  system 
enclosed  in  vertebrae,  or  hollow  bones. 

The  Radiata  are  so  named  from  the  general  tendency  of 
their  organs  to  proceed  like  radii  from  a  common  centre. 
They  may  be  regarded  as  the  simplest  in  their  forms  of  ani- 
mated creatures.  The  nervous  system,  which,  in  the  higher 
order  of  animals.,  is  developed  in  ganglia  and  a  brain,  is  in 
them  rudimental,  visible,  when  it  can  be  discovered  at  all,  in 
a  few  fibres,  surrounding  the  entrance  of  the  alimentary 
canal.  Many  of  them  present  the  appearance  of  a  simple 
digestive  sac  or  tube,  furnished  with  little  arms  or  tenta- 
cula,  or  with  mouths  for  fixing  themselves  to  the  substances 
on  which  they  feed.  Many  of  them  are  so  small  as  to  be 
invisible  to  the  unassisted  eye,  nay,  some  so  inconceivably 
minute,  that  a  million  of  millions,  it  has  been  calculated,  might 
be  comprehended  within  the  space  of  a  cubic  inch.  The  spe- 
cies, however,  present  a  vast  variety  of  size  as  well  as  of 
form,  from  the  simplest  of  all,  to  those  in  which  new  organs 
are  developed,  suited  to  more  varied  functions.  They  are 
all  the  inhabitants  of  water,  and  almost  all  those  whose  ha- 
bits can  be  observed  are  predaceous,  seizing  their  prey  by 


means  of  their  numerous  arms,  and  myriads  of  cilia.  Many 
of  them  are,  like  plants,  fixed  to  the  spot  on  which  they  live 
and  perish,  as  the  varied  species  of  Sponge,  which  are  met 
with  on  every  rocky  coast  from  the  equator  to  the  polar  seas  ; 
and  such  are  the  innumerable  Polypi,  whose  calcareous  se- 
cretions stud  the  ocean  as  with  bushes  and  forests,  and  form 
new  islands  and  continents  of  Coral.  Many  species  are  ge- 
latinous, and  so  transparent  as  scarcely  to  be  distinguished 
by  the  eye  from  the  element  in  which  they  live.  Yet  such 
creatures  have  a  will,  the  faculty  of  motion,  and  the  force  to 
prey  on  other  animals.  Such  are  the  Medusae,  some  large, 
some  microscopic,  which  float  in  myriads  together,  so  that 
the  whole  ocean  seems  to  be  alive  with  them,  giving  often  a 
tinge  to  the  waves  over  many  hundred  miles,  and  in  the 
dark  emitting  sparkles  of  phosphorescent  light.  The  Radi- 
ata,  passing  through  almost  every  conceivable  form,  from  the 
simple  digestive  sac,  to  the  sea-urchins,  star-fishes,  and  simi- 
lar creatures,  which  we  may  see  studding  the  submerged 
margins  of  our  coasts,  advance,  by  insensible  gradations,  to 
the  groups  above  them. 

The  divisions  above  the  Radiata,  are  the  Mollusca  and  Ar- 
ticulata,  nearly  of  an  equal  rank  in  the  organic  scale,  but 
differing  from  one  another  in  the  conformation  which  they 
tend  to  assume.  In  the  Articulata,  the  nervous  system 
begins  to  be  extended  in  length,  and  with  this  the  form 
of  the  body.  Some  of  them  are  minute  transparent  ani- 
malcules, invisible  to  the  naked  eye ;  and  some  of  them  are 
like  little  wheels,  continually  revolving,  and  preying  upon 
the  yet  feebler  creatures  with  which  every  drop  of  water 
seems  filled.  A  little  higher  in  the  scale  are  the  innumer- 
able parasitic  creatures  which  suck  the  fluids  of  other  ani- 
mals, living  within  their  bodies,  and  frequently  proving  dan- 
gerous enemies  even  to  man  and  the  larger  animals.  Above 
these  are  the  annulose,  or  worm-like  animals,  whose  skins 
are  furnished  with  rings,  giving  the  articulated  form  typical 
of  the  group  ;  next  are  the  creatures  formed  with  numerous 


moveable  segments  and  feet,  as  the  Earwig  and  Scolopen- 
dra ;  next  the  innumerable  tribes  of  Insects,  most  of  which 
feed  on  plants,  but  many  of  which  are  predaceous  ;  next  the 
Arachnida,  comprehending  the  Spiders  and  Scorpions,  crea- 
tures strong,  voracious,  and  endowed  with  wonderful  in- 
stincts, and  frequently  supplied  with  poison  to  destroy  their 
prey,  or  with  secretions  to  form  nets  for  entangling  it ;  and, 
lastly,  are  the  Crustacea,  as  the  Lobster  and  Crab,  having  a 
horny  skeleton,  enveloping  the  softer  parts,  and  formed  with 
articulations  or  joints,  to  allow  of  the  requisite  freedom  of 

The  Mollusca  differ  from  the  Articulata  in  not  having 
jointed  bodies  and  limbs,  but  a  soft  body,  covered  by  a  mus- 
cular integument,  which  assumes  various  forms  in  the  differ- 
ent tribes,  and  in  most  of  them  gives  out  a  calcareous  secre- 
tion, which,  hardening,  forms  a  shell  to  serve  for  the  pro- 
tection of  the  animal.  They  are  aquatic,  with  the  exception 
of  a  few  tribes.  They  are  infinitely  diversified  in  size  and 
form ;  but  they  are  generally  either  slow-moving  or  fixed  to 
a  spot,  as  the  Oyster,  the  Mussel,  and  other  animals  termed 
shell-fish.  There  are  many  of  them  phosphorescent,  and 
emit  a  brilliant  light.  They  abounded  in  the  past  ages  of 
the  world ;  and  whole  mountains,  and  immense  calcareous 
strata,  are  formed  of  their  remains.  The  lowest  in  the  scale 
are  those  which  are  soft,  without  heads,  and  destitute  of  cal- 
careous secretion  without  or  within  the  body :  the  next  are 
those  which  have  shells,  but  are  without  heads,  though  fur- 
nished with  mouths,  and  numerous  eyes  around  the  mar- 
gins of  their  integument:  the  next  are  those  which  have 
shells,  and  a  muscular  disc  extended  under  the  abdomen,  and 
serving  like  a  foot  for  crawling  along  the  surface  :  the  next 
are  those  which  are  especially  adapted  for  swimming,  and 
are  either  with  or  without  a  shell :  the  last  and  highest  in 
the  scale  are  those  which  have  feet  and  arms  disposed  around 
the  head,  and  which  are,  many  of  them,  powerful  beasts 
of  prey,  furnished  with  large  tentacula  with  which  they 


entangle  their  victims.    Amongst  these  are  the  Sepiae  termed 
uttle-fish,  which  have  the  property  of  emitting  an  inky  fluid, 
either  to  conceal  themselves  from  their  enemies,  or  permit 
them  to  approach  their  own  prey. 

In  all  the  kinds  of  animals  enumerated,  no  brain,  pro- 
perly so  called,  exists,  the  rudiments  of  it  merely  appearing 
in  ganglia,  or  knots  of  nervous  filaments.  Now,  the  nervous 
system  is  the  instrument  by  which  the  knowledge  of  external 
objects  is  conveyed  to  the  sentient  being,  and  by  which  the 
ictates  of  the  will  are  transmitted  to  the  various  organs  of 
the  body.  In  proportion  to  its  development,  the  animal  rises 
higher  in  the  scale  of  living  beings,  and  is  endowed  with 
more  varied  powers.  In  the  lowest  tribes  of  all,  it  is  merely 
developed  in  bundles  of  fibres,  surrounding  the  alimentary 
canal ;  ascending  higher,  it  forms  knots  or  ganglia,  and  still 
higher,  it  changes  its  place,  and  expands  towards  the  head, 
and  stretches  along  the  dorsal  region.  In  the  highest  order 
of  animals  of  all,  it  enlarges  into  a  true  brain,  and,  extending 
along  the  back,  is  inclosed  in  numerous  bones  termed  vertebrae. 
The  Vertebrata.  or  animals  possessed  of  vertebrae,  are 
usually  divided  into  four  groups,  which  may  be  termed  sub- 

1.  Pisces. 

2.  Reptilia. 

3.  Aves. 

4.  Mammalia. 

All  the  Vertebrata  have  a  series  of  bones  moveable  upon 
ne  another,  and  bound  together,  termed  the  Spine.  Each 
rtebra  has  a  perforation  through  it,  so  that,  when  the  whole 
ertebrse  are  joined  together,  a  long  continuous  canal  passes 
hrough  the  spinal  column.  At  the  upper  or  anterior  termi- 
nation of  the  column,  the  vertebrae  change  their  form,  become 
flat,  and,  being  fixed  together,  form  a  rounded  cavity  termed 
the  Cranium  ;  connected  with  which,  but  distinct  from  it,  are 

fe  bones  of  the  face,  in  which  are  the  receptacles  of  the  special 
nses,  namely,  sight,  smell,  hearing,  and  taste.     The  era- 


nium  encloses  the  brain,  the  substance  of  which  is  prolonged 
through  the  canal  of  the  vertebral  column,  forming  the  spinal 
chord,  terminating  in  the  lower  vertebrae.  From  the  under 
part  of  the  brain,  and  from  the  spinal  chord,  proceed  bundles 
of  nervous  filaments,  which,  dividing,  subdividing,  and  inter- 
mixing, communicate  with  every  sensible  part  of  the  body. 

All  the  vertebrata  have  ribs,  or  hoops  of  bone,  for  protect- 
ing the  lungs  and  other  organs,  with  the  exception  of  a  few 
tribes  in  which  the  ribs  are  rudimental.  Their  limbs  con- 
sist of  two  pairs,  though  one  and  sometimes  both  pairs  are 
rudimental  or  wanting.  The  upper  or  anterior  limbs  may 
be  arms  and  hands,  as  in  man  and  the  monkey  tribes ;  legs 
and  feet,  as  in  quadrupeds ;  organs  for  flight,  as  in  birds ; 
fins,  as  in  fishes :  the  hinder  or  inferior  limbs  may  be  feet, 
legs,  or  fins,  according  to  the  uses  to  which  they  are  des- 

All  the  vertebrata  have  a  muscular  organ,  the  heart,  con- 
tained within  the  chest,  for  propelling  the  blood  through  the 
system.  They  have  all  respiratory  organs,  in  which  the 
blood,  passed  through  innumerable  capillary  tubes,  finer 
than  the  finest  hair,  is  acted  upon  by  the  air  of  the  surround- 
ing medium.  In  fishes,  and  certain  reptiles,  the  respiratory 
apparatus  is  termed  branchite  or  gills,  over  which  the  water, 
containing  air,  passes ;  in  all  the  other  vertebrata,  the  res- 
piratory apparatus,  termed  lungs,  consists  essentially  of  a 
congeries  of  minute  cells,  into  which  the  air  is  drawn  through 
the  trachea  or  windpipe  from  the  mouth  and  nostrils. 

In  all  the  vertebrata  there  is  a  continued  canal,  which, 
commencing  at  the  mouth,  extends  through  the  body,  and 
which,  enlarging  within  the  abdomen,  forms  the  stomach, 
consisting  of  one  or  more  cavities,  in  which  the  food  is  re- 
tained for  a  time.  The  food  is  then  acted  upon  by  various 
fluids,  secreted  from  the  interior  surface  of  the  stomach,  by 
the  action  of  which  it  becomes  a  pulpy  mass,  to  which  is  ap- 
plied the  term  Chyme.  The  chyme  thus  formed  passes  on- 
wards by  the  extremity  of  the  stomach  towards  the  remain- 


ing  part  of  the  canal,  termed  the  intestines,  which  consist 
of  a  tube  of  prodigious  length,  convoluted  and  packed  within 
the  abdomen.  The  chyme,  as  it  passes  onward,  mixes  with 
other  fluids  secreted  from  the  liver  and  other  organs,  and  is 
separated  into  two  portions,  one  of  which,  termed  Chyle,  is 
to  form  the  matter  of  nutrition  to  the  body,  and  the  other  to 
be  excreted  at  the  termination  of  the  intestinal  canal.  Com- 
municating with  this  canal  is  a  vast  system  of  vessels,  termed 
absorbents,  which  drink  up,  or  absorb,  the  matter  of  the  chyle, 
and  which,  gradually  uniting  into  larger  branches,  carry  on- 
ward the  matter  of  the  chyle,  and  at  length  uniting,  pour  it 
into  veins  which  are  carrying  the  blood  to  the  heart,  and 
thus  mingle  the  nutrient  matter  of  the  aliment  with  the  blood. 
The  blood,  carried  to  every  part  of  the  system  in  myriads  of 
vessels,  gives  off  the  various  matters  which  form  the  tissues 
of  the  body,  as  the  matter  of  muscle  or  flesh,  where  that  is 
required  to  be  formed,  bone,  where  bone  is  to  be  deposited, 
nerve,  fat,  and  all  the  other  matters  which  form  the  animal 

In  all  the  vertebrata,  the  sexes  exist  in  distinct  indivi- 
duals. The  female  has  one  or  more  organs  from  which  the 
ova,  which  contain  the  germ  of  the  young,  are  detached  after 
conception.  In  the  greater  number  of  tribes,  fecundation 
takes  place  before  the  ovum  leaves  the  body ;  in  certain  rep- 
tiles, and  in  most  fishes,  impregnation  takes  place  after  the 
exit  of  the  ovum. 

The  vertebrata,  it  has  been  seen,  are  divided  into  four 
groups ;  each  distinguished  by  peculiarities  of  organization, 
but  all  conforming  to  a  common  type.  The  simplest  are 
Fishes,  the  next  Reptiles,  the  next  Birds,  the  last,  and  most 
perfectly  developed  in  their  organs,  Mammalia. 

Fishes  have  organs  suited  to  the  liquid  medium  which  they 
inhabit.  They  breathe  by  means  of  gills  ;  and  have  but 
the  rudiments  of  lungs,  which  are  presented  in  the  form  of 
simple  air-sacs.  Their  bones  are  more  soft  and  cartilaginous 
than  in  the  orders  above  them.  Their  limbs  are  short  and 


expanded  into  fins,  which,  with  the  tail,  are  the  organs  of 
progression.  By  contracting  or  expanding  the  air-sac,  they 
are  enabled  to  alter  the  specific  gravity  of  their  bodies,  and 
rise  or  sink  in  the  liquid  in  which  they  float.  Their  brain  is 
small  ;  their  blood  is  red,  but  cold ;  and  the  temperature  of 
their  bodies  is  little  above  that  of  the  surrounding  element. 
They  are  exceedingly  voracious,  preying  incessantly  the 
strong  upon  the  weak.  Like  all  the  other  creatures,  they 
pass  progressively  from  the  simpler  to  the  more  developed, 
until  they  are  connected  with  the  group  above  them,  namely, 
the  Reptiles. 

The  division  Reptilia  comprehends  creatures  varying  greatly 
in  their  forms,  but  all  conforming  to  a  common  type.  Some, 
like  fishes,  have  gills  in  the  young  state,  the  lungs  being 
only  developed  when  they  are  able  to  quit  the  liquid  me- 
dium in  which  they  are  born,  while  a  few  retain  both  gills 
and  lungs  through  life,  so  that  they  are  true  Amphibia. 
This  group  comprehends  the  Batrachian  reptiles, — the  frogs, 
the  toads,  the  salamanders,  and  others  ;  the  Chelonian  rep- 
tiles, as  the  tortoises  and  turtles ;  the  Saurian  tribes,  as 
the  lizard  and  crocodile ;  and  the  Ophidean,  comprehending 
the  snakes  and  serpents  of  all  kinds.  All  the  reptiles  are 
cold-blooded,  and  have  a  languid  circulation.  A  few  have 
wings,  and  in  a  former  age  of  the  world  the  winged  reptiles 
were  numerous,  and  of  huge  dimensions.  The  serpents, 
partly  aquatic,  and  partly  living  on  land,  are  without  feet, 
and  those  which  are  inhabitants  of  land  crawl  upon  the 
ground,  and  many  of  them  are  furnished  with  a  poison,  with 
which  they  are  enabled  to  inflict  deadly  wounds.  This  sub- 
stance, secreted  by  glands  situated  beneath  the  eyes,  is  con- 
veyed to  large  tubular  teeth  in  the  mouth,  by  which  the 
venom  is  conveyed  to  the  wound. 

Rising  higher  in  the  scale  of  organization  are  the  beauti- 
ful and  varied  tribes  of  Birds.  The  bodies  of  these  creatures 
are  protected  by  light  plumage  :  their  posterior  extremities 
are  limbs  of  support  when  at  rest,  and  instruments  of  pre- 



hension  and  progression  on  land,  and  their  fore -extremities, 
expanded,  covered  with  strong  feathers,  and  moved  by  pow- 
erful muscles,  serve  as  the  organs  of  flight.  Their  jaws  ter- 
minate in  a  pointed  beak  ;  and  their  necks  are  long  and  flex- 
ible, so  that  by  moving  it,  they  may  vary  the  centre  of  gra- 
vity of  the  body,  bringing  it  forwards  when  in  flight  to  be 
more  under  the  wings,  and  backwards  above  the  limbs  of 
support  when  at  rest.  The  external  air  permeates  the  body, 
passing  from  the  lungs  even  into  the  bones,  so  that  the  body 
may  be  rendered  buoyant.  Their  respiratory  action  is  strong, 
their  blood  warm,  and  their  movements  are  agile  and  power- 
ful. Impregnation  takes  place  within  the  body,  and  the  egg, 
when  protruded,  is  covered  by  a  calcareous  shell ;  the  heat 
required  to  hatch  it  being  usually  supplied  by  the  body  of  the 
parent.  In  birds,  the  nervous  system  is  more  developed  than 
in  the  tribes  below  them,  and  their  intelligence  may  be  be- 
lieved to  be  superior.  In  them  we  first  find  animals  resign- 
ing their  natural  wildness,  changing  their  form  and  instincts 
with  the  new  conditions  in  which  they  are  placed,  and  thus 
submitting  themselves  to  true  domestication. 

The  Mammalia  derive  their  distinctive  name  from  mam- 
ma, a  breast,  having  glands  by  which  the  female  is  en- 
abled to  supply  milk  to  the  young.  The  mammalia  are,  most 
of  them,  inhabitants  of  land,  but  some  of  them  are  formed  to 
live  wholly  in  water,  and  some  of  them  live  partly  in  water, 
and  partly  on  land.  The  greater  number  are  quadrupeds, 
the  members  of  both  extremities  being  limbs,  formed  to  sup- 
port the  animal,  and  serve  the  purpose  of  locomotion,  and  in 
numerous  cases  of  prehension.  The  monkey  tribes  possess 
four  members,  having  hands,  but  their  natural  motion  is  on 
all-fours.  Man  possesses  but  two  limbs  of  support,  and  is 
formed  to  walk  erect,  his  upper  extremities  or  arms  being 
left  free  for  the  various  uses  to  which  they  are  to  be  applied. 
All  the  mammalia  bring  forth  their  young  alive,  and  so  are 
termed  viviparous.  They  are  divided  into  various  groups, 
hich  may  be  termed  Orders. 


1.  Cetacea,  the  Whale  tribes,  which,  though  viviparous, 
breathing  by  means  of  lungs,  and  suckling  their  young  by 
mammas,  are  formed  on  a  plan  which  fits  them  to  live  in 
water.     Some  are  formed  like  fishes,  as  the  Porpoise  and 
the  Dolphin,  having  a  smooth  and  glossy  skin  without  hairs, 
and  connected  with  the  skin  the  fatty  tissue  termed  blubber, 
from  which  oil  is  obtained.     The  next  in  order  are  the  true 
Whales,  of  which  some  are  the  hugest  creatures  to  which 
life  is  given  on  this  planet.     They  have  no  teeth,  but  they 
have  enormous  mouths,  which  enable  them  to  take  in,  along 
with  the  water,  shoals  of  worms,  little  shell-fish,  and  innu- 
merable animalcules.     It  is  when  they  rise  to  the  surface  to 
breathe  that  they  spout  forth  from  their  nostrils  the  water 
which  they  had   swallowed  with  their  prey,  in  great  jets. 
They  yield  a  vast  quantity  of  oil,  for  which  production  they 
are  pursued  in  the  seas  which  they  inhabit,  and  harpooned 
when  they  rise  to  the  surface  to  breathe. 

2.  Ruminantia,  so  named  from  the  faculty  possessed  by 
them  of  returning  to  the  mouth  the  food  which  has  passed 
into  the  stomach,  and  subjecting  it  to  a  second  mastication. 
All  the  ruminantia  live  on  vegetable  food,  have  the  feet 
cloven,  and  defended  at  the  extremities  by  horn.     They  con- 
stitute an  order  of  creatures  of  the  highest  interest,   com- 
prehending the  Stag,  the  Antelope,  the  Giraffe,  and  others, 
amongst  the  wilder  races  ;  the  Goat,  the  Sheep,  the  Ox,  the 
Camel,  amongst  those  which  have  been  subjected  to  human 
control.     Living  on  vegetables  alone,  they  are  never  incited, 
by  the  appetite  for  food,  to  prey  on  other  creatures.     Some 
of  them  are  fitted  to  save  themselves  from  their  enemies  by 
flight,  and  are  amongst  the  fleetest  of  quadrupeds,  as  the 
Elks,  the  Deers,  the  Gazelles,  which  delight  the  eye  by  their 
graceful  motions.     Some  dwell  on  the  summits,  and  amid 
the  crags,  of  mountains,  as  the  Ibex,  the  Chamois  Antelope, 
and  the  Wild  Sheep.     Some  are  supplied  with  organs  placed 
in  the  head,  which  can  often  be  used  with  deadly  effect  for 
protection  or  revenge.     These  arms  are  antlers,  or  horns, 


the  former  being  cast  off  and  renewed  every  year,  the  latter 
enduring  for  the  life  of  the  animal.  The  Stag  and  other 
allied  species  are  furnished  with  antlers ;  the  Antelope,  the 
Goat,  the  Sheep,  and  the  Ox,  with  horns.  The  ruminating 
tribes  may  be  said  to  be  the  most  important  of  any  other  to 
the  interests  of  the  human  race,  some  of  them  being  endowed 
with  instincts  which  cause  them  to  relinquish  their  natural 
wildness,  and  submit  themselves  entirely  to  our  purposes. 
The  Camel  is  fitted  beyond  all  other  creatures  to  traverse  the 
burning  sands  of  the  desert ;  the  Ox,  the  Sheep,  and  the 
Goat,  have  been  the  servants  of  man  from  the  earliest  records 
of  our  race.  The  very  species  have  been  subjected  to  our 
will :  they  till  the  ground  for  our  support,  and  bear  our  bur- 
dens ;  they  yield  us  milk,  and  hair,  and  wool ;  and,  finally, 
they  render  up  their  bodies  for  our  food,  and  their  skins  for 
our  covering. 

3.  Pachydermata,  or  thick-skinned  animals,  comprehend- 
ing,—^!.) The  Tapir,  the  Wild  and  Ethiopian  Hogs,  the  Pec- 
caries, and  others,  of  which  the  Wild  Hog  is  formed,  beyond 
any  other  animal,  to  submit  himself  to  human  control,  and 
multiply  in  the  state  of  slavery ;    (2.)  The  Hippopotamus, 
the  Rhinoceros,  and  the  Elephant,  of  which,  in  a  former  age 
of  the  world,  many  species  abounded,  whose  bones  alone  now 
remain  to  attest  their  former  existence  ;  (3.)  The  Solidungu- 
la,  comprehending  the  Horse,  the  Ass,  the  Zebra,  and  other 
allied  species ;  some  of  which  beautiful  creatures  remain  in 
a  state  of  liberty,  and  refuse  to  resign  themselves  to  bond- 
age': while  others — the  Horse  and  the  Ass — have  been  sub- 
mitted to  domestication  from  the  earliest  records  of  human 
societies ;  (4.)  The  Dugongs,  usually  classed  with  the  Whales, 
which  live  in  the  sea,  but  crawl  on  shore  to  feed  ;  creatures 
strong,  but  harmless  and  timid,  and  betaking  themselves, 
when  alarmed,  to  their  natural  element. 

4.  Edentata,  or  animals  destitute  of  incisor  teeth,  as  the 
gigantic  Megatherium  and  Myolodon,  now  extinct;  the  family 
of  Sloths,  fitted  to  pass  their  lives  in  trees ;  the  Armadilloes, 


supplied  with  a  natural  armour ;  the  Ant-eaters,  and  two  re- 
markable creatures  of  New  Holland,  the  Duck-billed  Water- 
Mole,  and  the  Porcupine  Ant- Eater,  which  connect  this  order 
with  the  Birds. 

5.  Rodentia,  or  Gnawing  animals,  as  the  Mouse,  the  Rat, 
the  Hare,  the  Squirrel,  the  Beaver,  and  the  Porcupine.    These 
creatures  are  some  of  them  predaceous,  and  others  live  wholly 
on  vegetable  food.     There  are  several  of  them  possessed  of 
wonderful   instincts   for  constructing  their  dwellings,   and 
many  of  them  remain  torpid  during  the  season  of  cold.    Some 
visit  our  dwellings,  as  the  Rat  and  the  Mouse,  without  sub- 
mitting themselves  to  our  power ;  and  the  greater  number 
are  timid,  and  shun  the  presence  of  man. 

6.  Marsupialia,  animals  of  diiferent  orders,  having  a  pouch 
underneath  the  abdomen,  where  the  young  receive  their  milk 
from  glands,  to  which  they  attach  themselves, — as  the  Opos- 
sum, the  Kangaroo,  and  the  Phalangers. 

7.  Carnivora.  or  Ferae,  animals  especially  destined  to  feed 
on  flesh,  and  which  may  be  termed  beasts  of  prey,  comprehend- 
ing, (1.)  the  Seals  and  Walruses,  not  less  fierce  and  bloody  in 
the  ocean  than  the  others  are  on  the  land  ;  (2.)  the  Dog  tribe, 
comprehending  the  domesticated  Dogs,  the  Wolves,  the  Jack- 
als, the  Foxes,  and  other  wild  Canidae  ;  (3.)  the  Ursidae,  com- 
prehending the  Bears,  the  Raccoons,  and  other  allied  ani- 
mals ;  (4.)  the  Civet  and  Weasel  tribes,  as  the  Ichneumon, 
the  Polecat,  the  Ferret,  the  Badger,  the  Otter  ;  and,  lastly, 
the  sanguinary  family  of  Cats, — the  Lion,  the  Tiger,  the  Leo- 
pard, the  Panther,  the  Wild  Cat,  and  others. 

8.  Insectivora,  animals  that  live  chiefly  on  insects,  and 
which  are,  most  of  them,  subterranean  in  their  habits,  as  the 
Hedgehog,  the  Shrew,  the  Mole. 

9.  Cheiroptera,  constituting  the  varied  tribes  of  Bats,  which 
alone,  of  all  the  mammalia,  are  endowed  with  the  power  of 
flight.     To  this  end  their  anterior  limbs  are  expanded  into 
broad  membranes,  and  their  posterior  limbs  are  furnished 
with  hands,  by  which  they  hang  from  trees  and  the  roofs  of 


taverns.  Some  of  them  live  on  fruits,  most  of  them  feed  on 
nocturnal  insects,  which  they  pursue  from  twilight  to  dawn, 
and  a  few  have  the  singular  propensity  of  sucking  the  Wood 
of  larger  animals  while  asleep. 

10.  Quadrumana,  comprehending  the  Apes,  the  Monkeys, 
the  Baboons,  and  others ;  creatures  approaching  the  nearest 
to  man  in  the  form  and  disposition  of  their  organs,  living 
in  some  cases  amongst  rocks,  but  for  the  most  part  on  trees, 
and  forming  marvellous  commonwealths  in  the  rich  forests 
of  the  warmer  countries. 

11.  Bimana,  having  two  perfect  hands,  and  comprehend- 
ing a  solitary  genus,  Man,  classed  with  the  Mammalia  by 
the  relations  of  form  and  animal  attributes,  but  raised  far 
above  them  all  by  those  powers  of  mind  which  fit  him  to 
perform  the  functions  for  which  he  is  destined.     He  alone 
is  endowed  with  force  of  reason  to  know  that  the  marvellous 
system  of  which  he  forms  a  part  has  been  ordained  by  a 
Superior  Power,  and  to  believe  that,  when  the  frail  fabric  by 
which  he  is  permitted  to  communicate  with  the  external 
world  shall  have  been  resolved  into  its  elements,  the  con- 
sciousness will  be  preserved  to  him  of  his  former  being. 

In  the  Mammalia,  as  in  the  groups  before  them,  a  pro- 
gression may  be  traced  of  animal  forms,  not  indeed  in  a 
merely  linear  series,  such  as  the  imperfection  of  our  know- 
ledge causes  us  to  adopt  in  our  systems  of  natural  classifica- 
tion, but  in  a  certain  relation,  which  we  can  trace  to  the 
degree  of  being  assured,  that  the  Mammalia,  like  the  groups 
before  them,  pass  from  lower  to  higher  degrees  of  organic 

And  when  we  look  to  the  past  history  of  the  organic  world, 
as  it  is  revealed  to  us  in  the  innumerable  remains  preserved 
in  mineral  depositions,  we  are  presented  with  the  like  evi- 
dences of  a  gradation  of  animal  forms,  from  the  simpler  to 
the  more  composite.  Nay,  there  is  just  reason  to  believe 
that  animal  life  was  first  introduced  on  our  planet  in  its 
simpler  forms.  For,  in  the  oldest  fossiliferous  strata,  the 


organic  remains  which  we  discover  are  always  those  only  of 
the  simpler  forms,  but  chiefly  the  Mollusca,  whose  calcareous 
coverings  have  remained  after  the  softer  parts  have  decayed. 
At  a  long  posterior  era,  we  find  the  remains  of  Fishes, — the 
next  in  order  of  the  animal  tribes  above  the  Mollusca  ;  and, 
at  length,  as  successive  periods  rolled  on,  we  find  the  remains 
of  Reptiles,  and  at  length  of  Birds  and  Mammalia,  all  con- 
forming to  the  more  general  types  of  animal  forms,  but  all 
distinct  as  species  from  any  now  inhabiting  the  land  or  wa- 
ters of  the  globe  :  and  continually,  as  the  earth  approaches 
to  the  present  conditions  of  its  surface,  new  species  appear, 
until  at  last  we  discover  animals  identical  with  those  now 
existing,  or  differing  slightly  from  them. 

By  Species  we  designate  animals  resembling  one  another 
in  their  essential  characters,  and  possessed  of  the  p'ower, 
common  to  the  vegetable  and  animal  kingdoms,  of  reproduc- 
ing individuals  similar  to  themselves  and  to  one  another. 
Now,  in  the  past  eras,  as  in  the  present,  we  find  animals 
essentially  alike,  and  which  we  infer  were  possessed  of  the 
power  of  reproducing  the  like  forms.  A  question  which 
enters  into  the  fair  range  of  philosophical  inquiry  may  arise, 
whether,  in  the  course  of  immense  periods  of  time,  these 
species  have  been  so  modified,  in  obedience  to  some  grand 
system  of  natural  laws,  as  to  become  suited  to  new  conditions 
of  external  nature,  or  whether  each  mutation  has  been  a  new 
act  of  creative  power,  called  forth  as  the  occasion  arose,  to 
produce  a  new  race  of  beings  1  We  cannot  certainly  resolve 
this  problem  by  any  knowledge  we  possess  of  the  actual 
changes  of  animal  species  ;  and  it  is  only  from  analogy  that 
we  can  venture  to  infer,  that  the  operation  of  the  same  laws, 
under  which  species  have  been  called  forth  by  the  decrees  of 
an  Omnipotent  Powrer,  may  have  adapted  species  to  new 
states  of  existence.  Animals,  it  may  be  believed,  must  be 
suited  to  the  conditions  of  external  nature  under  which  they 
are  called  to  exist.  The  digestive  organs  must  be  adapted 
to  the  nature  of  the  aliment  from  which  the  system  of  the 


body  is  built  up  and  sustained,  and  the  respiratory  organs 
to  the  physical  and  chemical  constitution  of  the  elements 
which  the  living  creatures  respire  ;  and  when  great  changes 
take  place  in  the  relations  of  living  bodies  with  food,  air, 
and  other  external  agents,  either  we -must  suppose  that  the 
species  perish  utterly,  or  that  they  become  adapted  to  the 
new  conditions  in  which  they  are  placed.  The  temperature 
of  this  earth,  and,  consequently,  of  the  air  and  water  with 
which  it  was  in  contact,  must  at  one  period  have  been  ex- 
ceedingly great,  as  measured  by  the  sensations  of  animals 
now  living ;  and  with  the  temperature,  the  physical  and  che- 
mical relations  of  the  solids  and  fluids  of  the  globe  must 
have  varied.  We  cannot  suppose  that  the  pristine  ocean 
contained  the  same  earthy,  saline,  and  other  constituents,  in 
the  same  proportions  as  the  present  seas,  or  that  the  at- 
mosphere, with  respect  to  density  and  other  conditions,  was 
the  same  as  now.  But  variations  in  the  conditions  of  ex- 
ternal nature,  having  taken  place  from  era  to  era,  we 
have  equal  reason,  at  least,  to  believe  that  corresponding 
changes  have  taken  place  in  the  form  and  attributes  of 
species,  as  that  alternate  destruction  and  creation  have  been 
the  law  of  nature.  For  what  periods  of  time  the  condi- 
tions of  the  earth,  with  its  waters  and  surrounding  gases. 
have  changed  so  little  as  to  have  remained  suited  to  the 
maintenance  of  existing  species,  we  do  not  know  ;  but  the 
period  must  be  believed  to  have  been  vastly  great,  when 
measured  by  our  ordinary  conceptions  of  duration,  though 
but  as  a  drop,  perhaps,  in  the  stream,  when  compared  with 
the  whole  duration  of  the  period  since  animal  life  was  called 
forth  upon  our  planet.  The  age  of  the  gigantic  mastodons, 
the  huge  tapirs,  and  the  extinct  carnivora  of  the  tertiary  de- 
posites,  which  must  have  long  preceded  the  era  of  man,  is 
yet  but  as  yesterday  compared  with  the  age  of  the  great 
reptiles  of  the  lias  and  oolite  ;  and  the  age  of  these  again 
must  have  been  inconceivably  posterior  to  the  era  of  the 
fishes  and  mollusea  of  the  first  fossiliferous  strata.  Although, 


then,  we  cannot,  with  many  physiologists,  maintain  that 
species  are  immutable,  and  exempt  from  the  laws  of  change, 
to  which  all  organic  matter  seems  subject,  we  can  say  that 
species  may  remain  unchanged  for  periods  of  time  beyond 
any  to  which  our  inquiries,  for  the  purposes  of  useful  infer- 
ences, need  extend.  It  is  matter  of  merely  speculative  in- 
quiry, whether  now,  as  in  all  the  period  of  the  past,  the 
earth,  the  air,  and  the  relations  which  connect  external 
nature  with  the  living  kingdom,  are  not  undergoing  pro- 
gressive though  insensible  changes,  which  may  in  the  course 
of  unmeasured  periods  of  time,  react  upon  all  the  existing 
species,  not  excepting  man  himself.  It  suffices  for  us  to  know 
that  species  are  to  us  realities,  and  remain  constant  in  their 
essential  characters  for  a  time  which  we  cannot  compute. 

But  there  is  a  class  of  changes  in  organic  forms  which  fall 
more  within  our  cognizance,  and  which  merit  our  attention 
in  an  especial  degree  ; — this  is  the  class  of  changes,  which 
produce  what  we  term  Varieties  or  Races,  in  which  the  spe- 
cific type  is  generally  so  far  preserved  that  the  animals  may, 
with  more  or  less  certainty,  be  referred  to  it,  although  very 
often  the  divergence  is  so  great  that  nothing  can  be  traced 
beyond  the  affinities  which  we  terrn  generic.  The  human 
races,  as  well  as  the  lower  tribes,  are  subject  to  this  class  of 
changes,  under  the  influence  of  temperature,  food,  habitudes, 
and  other  agencies. 

Man,  it  has  been  seen,  of  all  the  Mammalia,  constitutes  a 
Genus,  into  the  circle  of  which  none  of  the  tribes,  even  the 
nearest  to  him  in  conformation,  enters.  Many  divisions  have 
been  made  of  the  different  groups  of  'men  according  to  the 
external  characters,  habits,  traditions,  and  affinities  of  speech, 
which  have  been  supposed  to  connect  them. 

One  great  division  has  been  supposed  to  comprehend,  gene- 
rally, the  inhabitants  of  Western  Asia  and  Europe,  from  the 
•first  historical  records  to  the  present  time.  This  group  of 
nations  has  been  termed  Caucasian,  from  the  mountainous 
regions  of  the  Caucasus,  where  the  inhabitants  have  been 


supposed  to  present  the  characters  most  typical  of  the  group. 
Similarities  of  speech,  customs,  and  traditions,  strongly  indi- 
cate a  common  lineage  of  these  people,  and  we  naturally 
look  to  some  region  of  Western  Asia  as  the  great  centre 
whence  they  have  been  spread.  Let  us  assume  for  the  mo- 
ment that  this  region  is  near  to  the  western  termination  of 
the  great  Himalaya  range,  termed  Hindu-koh,  signifying 
literally  the  Indian  Mountain,  and  corresponding  in  part 
with  the  ancient  Aria,  and  that  the  race  spread  itself  south- 
ward beyond  the  Indus,  northward  to  near  the  Arctic  Circle, 
westward  into  Arabia,  and,  by  the  Don  and  Bosphorus,  to  the 
extremities  of  Europe,  and  again  into  Africa  by  the  Isthmus 
of  Suez  and  the  Red  Sea  ;  and  then  we  may  understand  the 
meaning  of  the  term  Caucasian  as  it  has  been  employed  by 
some,  and  Arian  by  others,  to  designate  a  great  section  of 
the  human  family.  In  this  sense,  the  Arian  or  Caucasian 
Family  comprehended  the  ancient  Hindoos,  who  are  supposed 
to  have  migrated  southward  beyond  the  Scinde  ;  the  Assy- 
rians, Medes,  and  Persians,  who  founded  early  empires  in 
the  East ;  the  Scythians  and  others,  who  migrated  north- 
ward, and  were  afterwards  known  in  Europe  as  Goths,  Scan- 
dinavians, Sarmatians,  &c. ;  the  ancient  Chaldeans,  Arme- 
nians, Phoenicians,  and  other  people,  formerly  inhabiting 
Asia  Minor  and  Syria;  the  Arabians  of  Asia  and  Africa; 
the  Celtse,  Iberi,  and  other  early  colonists  of  Europe,  who 
are  supposed  to  have  migrated  westward  from  the  countries 
south  of  the  Euxine  ;  the  Greeks,  the  Latins,  and  others, 
who  occupied  the  same  countries  at  a  subsequent  age. 
Amongst  these  people  a  certain  relation  exists,  in  customs  as 
well  as  languages  employed,  from  early  times.  Thus,  traces 
of  the  Sanscrit,  of  which  a  dialect  is  still  spoken  near  the 
Hindu-koh,  is  found  in  the  Scandinavian  and  German  lan- 
guages of  Northern,  and  in  the  Celtic  of  Western,  Europe. 
Further,  the  members  of  this  group  are  supposed  to  be  dis- 
tinguished from  all  the  others  by  certain  physical  and  psychi- 
cal characters.  Their  complexion  varies  with  the  climate, 


from  the  dusky  colour  of  the  Hindoo  to  the  fine  dark  olive  of 
the  Central  Asiatics,  the  swarthy  tinge  of  the  Greeks  and 
Italians,  and  the  florid  complexions  of  the  nations  of  the 
north.  The  face  is  oval,  straight,  and  relatively  small,  with 
the  features  distinct,  the  nose  tending  to  the  aquiline,  the 
mouth  small,  the  teeth  perpendicular.  The  hair  is  soft  and 
slightly  curling,  black  in  the  warmer  countries,  and  of 
various  colours  in  the  colder,  as  black,  flaxen,  brown,  red. 
The  irides  are  generally  dark  when  the  skin  is  of  that  colour, 
but  in  other  cases  light-blue,  with  intervening  shades.  In 
this  race  the  intellectual  endowments  of  the  species  have 
been  the  most  highly  developed.  With  it  have  originated 
nearly  all  the  sciences,  and  the  most  useful  of  the  arts  ;  and 
in  literature  and  arms  it  has  hitherto  surpassed,  and  yet  sur- 
passes, the  other  races. 

Turning  to  the  elevated  regions  of  Central  Asia  about  the 
70°  of  longitude  east,  at  the  great  Altaic  chain  of  mountains, 
termed  by  the  ancients  Imaus,  and  held  by  them  to  separate 
the  Scythi  of  the  West  from  the  Scythi  of  the  East,  another 
group  of  races,  or,  as  we  may  rather  say,  another  great 
Family  of  mankind,  presents  itself,  as  if  derived  from  some 
region  to  the  east  or  south-east.  This  family  is  commonly 
termed  Mongolian,  from  the  supposed  name  of  a  great  country 
of  Eastern  Asia,  comprehended  within  the  boundaries  of 
Chinese  Tartary.  But  the  name  Mongolia,  it  is  believed,  is  of 
European  origin,  and  applied  erroneously  to  a  great  country 
of  Asia ;  the  term  Mog-huls,  from  which  the  name  seems  to 
have  been  taken,  being  merely  applicable  to  a  certain  tribe  of 
Tartars.  Be  this  as  it  may,  the  Mongolian  Family,  so  called, 
comprehends  all  the  Kalmuks,  and  other  allied  tribes  of  East- 
ern Asia.  It  comprehends  the  inhabitants  of  Thibet,  of  China 
Proper,  of  Japan,  of  Corea,  of  the  greater  part  of  the  coun- 
tries termed  Indo-China.  The  Mongolian  Family  thus  in- 
cludes a  great  proportion  of  the  whole  human  race.  It  is 
characterised  by  the  head  tending  to  the  square  form,  by 
the  face  being  broad,  the  nose  flat,  the  cheek-bones  promi- 


nent,  the  eyes  oblique,  and  the  ears  large.  The  colour  of  the 
skin  tends  to  an  olive-yellow  ;  the  eyes  are  dark,  the  hair  is 
black,  straight,  and  thin,  and  the  beard  is  scanty  or  wanting. 
These,  the  most  striking  characteristics  of  this  immense 
group,  distinguish  the  Mongolians,  so  called,  from  all  the 
races  of  the  family  termed  Caucasian.  They  have  in  certain 
cases  been  conquerors,  formed  great  empires,  and  arrived  at 
a  considerable  degree  of  stationary  civilization  ;  but  they  are 
suspicious  of  strangers,  tenacious  of  old  usages,  and  have 
never  arrived  at  distinction  in  science.  They  have  formed  a 
written  language,  eminently  copious,  but  rude,  inartificial, 
and  wanting  in  the  precision  of  grammatical  construction. 

The  term  Malay,  or  Polynesian,  has  been  applied  to  the 
inhabitants  of  the  peninsula  of  Malacca,  and  the  greater 
part  of  the  inhabitants  of  Sumatra,  Borneo,  Java,  and  other 
Islands  of  the  Eastern  Archipelago,  of  New  Zealand,  and 
the  Islands  of  the  South  Sea.  In  this  race,  or  group  of 
races,  the  head  is  somewhat  narrow,  the  bones  of  the  face 
are  prominent,  the  nose  is  broad,  the  lips  are  thick.  The 
colour  of  the  skin  varies  from  a  tawny  olive  to  nearly  black, 
and  the  hair  is  dark  and  curled,  but  not  what  is  termed 
woolly.  These  people,  however,  extending  over  a  vast  tract 
of  ocean,  and  being  in  certain  cases  mixed  in  blood  with 
other  races,  their  characters  vary  so  greatly,  that  it  is  impos- 
sible to  reduce  them  to  a  common  standard.  They  have  the 
habits  of  islanders,  and  are,  for  the  most  part,  bold,  active, 
and  of  warm  temperaments,  but  unforgiving,  treacherous, 
and  cunning.  Within  the  limits,  too,  of  the  region  of  this 
group,  are  tribes  altogether  distinct  in  speech,  customs,  and 
external  characters,  and  remaining  in  the  savage  state. 
Such  are  the  inland  tribes  of  some  of  the  great  islands  of 
the  Eastern  Seas,  and  the  black  inhabitants  of  the  insular 
continent  of  New  Holland. 

In  the  great  African  Continent,  the  human  race  presents 
itself  with  characters  which,  like  those  of  the  other  animal 
species  of  the  same  region,  may  be  said  to  be  peculiar  to  it. 


Of  all  the  African  Races,  the  most  distinct  is  the  true  Negro, 
inhabiting  a  prodigious  extent  of  country  on  either  side  of 
the  equator,  and  fitted,  by  all  the  characters  impressed  upon 
his  race,  to  inhabit  the  wild  and  burning  regions  which 
are  proper  to  him.  In  the  true  Negro,  the  skull  is  narrow 
laterally,  the  forehead  is  sloping,  the  cheek-bones  are  pro- 
minent, the  jaws  elongated,  the  front  teeth  oblique,  the  lips 
thick,  the  nose  is  broad  and  flat,  the  irides  are  dark,  and 
the  hair  is  black  and  what  is  popularly  termed  woolly,  and 
the  colour  of  the  skin  approaches  to  a  jet-black.  This  race 
has  never  yet  exhibited  great  intellectual  powers ;  although, 
under  the  guidance  of  humane  instruction,  the  youthful  Afri- 
can has  proved  to  be  not  unapt  to  learn  all  that  we  can 
teach  to  Europeans  at  a  tender  age.  The  temper  of  the 
people  is  eager,  light,  and  joyous  ;  but  their  actions  indicate 
want  of  reflection.  They  have,  in  some  cases,  united  to 
form  large  communities,  but  these  have  been  always  barbar- 
ous, and  maintained  by  the  present  tyranny  of  the  chief. 
Although  possessed  of  physical  powers  far  exceeding  those 
of  the  tribes  which  have  settled  in  their  country,  they  have 
seldom  united  their  arms  to  arrest  the  progress  of  their  ene- 
mies, or  avenge  the  wrongs  inflicted  upon  themselves.  Few 
useful  arts  have  yet  penetrated  their  native  wilderness,  and 
the  race  seems  at  this  hour  to  be  little  advanced  beyond  what 
it  may  be  conceived  to  have  been  in  the  earliest  times. 

But  the  African  characters  recede  from  the  grosser  forms 
typical  of  the  true  Negro,  until  they  approach  nearer  to  the 
Caucasian  type.  Of  this  character  are  some  of  the  races  of 
the  interior,  and  above  all,  those  which  extend  from  the 
great  Sahara  towards  the  shores  of  the  Mediterranean,  east- 
ward through  the  Libyan  deserts  to  the  Nile,  and  southward 
through  Nubia  to  the  high  lands  of  Abyssinia,  and  again 
into  the  countries  of  the  Caffres  ;  and  of  this  character,  judg- 
ing from  their  delineations  of  the  human  figure,  were  the 
ancient  Egyptians  ;  so  that  the  Negro  form,  however  typical 
of  the  African  race,  becomes  insensibly  modified  under  the 


influence  of  external  agents.  Through  the  Berebers,  that 
is,  the  ancient  inhabitants  of  Northern  Africa,  the  Nubians, 
the  Abyssinians,  and  others,  there  is  a  chain  of  connexion, 
indicated  by  physiological  characters  and  ancient  dialects, 
between  the  great  African  Family,  and  the  Arabians,  now 
termed  Asiatic.  But  the  Arabians  are  included,  by  almost 
all  geographers  and  naturalists,  in  the  Caucasian  division 
of  mankind,  although  grave  doubts  may  exist  with  respect 
to  the  justness  of  this  classification.  The  Arabians,  in- 
deed, were  early  mixed  in  blood,  and  connected  in  speech, 
with  the  Western  Asiatics  ;  but  if  we  regard  locality,  ancient 
dialects,  habits,  and  physical  characters,  the  Arabians  are 
more  connected  with  the  Berebers,  the  Nubians,  and  other 
Africans,  than  with  the  people  of  Asia  or  Europe.  What 
contrast  of  form,  temperament,  and  character,  can  be  more 
striking  than  that  between  the  pale  Hollander,  beside  the 
dikes  of  mud  which  his  labours  have  raised  up,  and  the 
light  and  dusky  Arab  in  his  tent  of  skin,  amid  the  burn- 
ing sands  of  his  wild  and  desolate  country.  Yet,  if  we 
assign  a  common  lineage  to  the  Caucasian  and  Arabian 
groups,  we  must  believe  that  the  squat  and  clumsy  peasant 
of  the  marshes  of  the  Zuyder  Zee,  with  his  brawny  limbs, 
is  not  only  of*  the  same  species,  but  of  the  same  variety 
or  race,  as  the  wild  wanderer  of  the  southern  deserts,  with 
his  swarthy  skin,  his  coal-black  hair,  his  keen  dark  eye,  his 
well-braced  muscles  and  sinewy  form,  properties  of  the  body 
which,  reacting,  as  it  were,  on  the  mind,  have  rendered  him 
active,  enthusiastic,  bold,  and  free,  enabling  him  to  roll  back 
the  tide  of  conquest  on  the  Northern  Family,  and  become 
for  a  time  the  master  of  the  fairest  portions  of  the  globe, 
nay,  to  found  a  religious  faith  which  has  enslaved,  for  more 
than  a  thousand  years,  a  third  part  of  the  human  race. 

Turning  to  the  great  American  Continent,  termed  New, 
with  relation  to  our  knowledge  of  it,  but  which  we  have  no 
reason  to  believe  posterior  in  the  order  of  existence  to 
those  parts  of  the  world  which  we  term  Old,  we  find  innu- 


merable  animal  species,  and  amongst  these  Human  Beings, 
apparently  as  proper  to  the  regions  where  they  are  found  as 
those  of  Europe,  Africa,  and  Asia,  are  to  the  Eastern  hemi- 
sphere. But  America,  extending  over  all  the  varieties  of 
climates  in  which  living  creatures  can  exist,  its  human  in- 
habitants present  great  diversities  of  form  and  aspect, 
though  conforming  to  a  general  order  of  characters,  which 
may  be  termed  American.  The  great  distinction  of  the  in- 
habitants is  between  those  on  either  side  of  the  elevated 
countries  on  the  Caribbean  Sea.  The  northern  races  gene- 
rally resemble  the  Eastern  Asiatics  more  than  they  resemble 
the  other  families  of  mankind.  The  forehead  is  sloping,  and 
the  middle  part  of  the  cranium  elevated,  the  iricles  are  dark, 
the  face  is  broad  across  the  cheeks,  the  mouth  is  wide,  the 
lips  are  thick,  the  ears  very  large.  The  colour  of  the  skin  tends 
more  or  less  to  a  copper-red,  and  the  hair  of  the  head  is  black, 
straight,  and  long.  The  southern  races,  again,  exhibit  cha- 
racters proper  to  their  own  region.  If  we  compare  the  wild 
warrior  of  the  Canadian  forests  with  the  feeble  remnant  of 
the  misused  Peruvian,  the  black  Indian  of  the  Caribbean 
Sea,  the  savage  horseman  of  Paraguay,  or  the  athletic  hun- 
ter of  Patagonia,  we  find  differences  as  great  as  are  employed 
to  distinguish  the  inhabitants  of  the  Caucasus  from  the  Kal- 
muks  of  Eastern  Asia ;  but  there  is  a  relation  between  even 
the  most  distant  tribes,  as  in  the  copper  hue  of  the  skin,  the 
darkness  of  the  eye,  the  lankness  of  the  hair,  which  connects 
the  American  nations  by  a  certain  general  similitude.  There 
were  in  early  times,  it  may  be  believed,  partial  mixtures 
with  Asiatic,  Polynesian,  and  even  perhaps  African  colo- 
nists, yet  we  have  no  more  reason  to  question  that  the 
Americans  were,  from  the  earliest  distribution  of  animal 
species,  as  proper  to  the  regions  which  they  inhabited,  as  the 
Negroes  to  the  intertropical  countries  of  Africa,  or  the  Cau- 
casians, so  called,  to  Western  Asia.  Most  of  them  had  not 
advanced  beyond  the  hunter  state,  though  there  are  traces 
in  the  country  of  anterior  inhabitants,  and  though  empires 


had  been  formed  of  considerable  power  and  splendour,  yet 
destined  to  fall  an  easy  prey  to  European  strangers. 

Looking  at  the  great  diversities  which  present  themselves 
in  these  different  races  of  the  human  family,  a  natural  curio- 
sity prompts  us  to  inquire  whether  they  are  of  one  species  ; 
and  whether,  on  the  assumption  that  they  are  of  one  species, 
they  have  sprung  from  the  same  stock,  and  spread  over  the 
earth  from  some  common  centre  ;  or  whether  they  have  been 
called  into  existence,  either  contemporaneously,  or  at  diffe- 
rent epochs,  according  as  the  different  parts  of  the  earth  be- 
came fitted  for  their  reception. 

If,  by  species,  we  understand  animals  possessing  certain 
characters  in  common,  which  we  term  specific,  and  having 
the  power,  which  we  see  them  to  possess,  of  reproducing 
creatures  having  the  same  characters,  there  can  be  no  diffi- 
culty in  admitting  that  all  the  races  of  man,  in  so  far  as  they 
have  yet  been  examined,  are  of  one  species.  If,  indeed,  we 
were  to  place  beside  a  Persian  of  Ispahan,  or  a  mountaineer 
of  the  Caucasus,  a  Negro  of  the  Gambia,  with  his  sooty  skin, 
his  wool- like  hair,  his  projecting  jaws  ;  or  a  Bushman  of  the 
Gariep,  with  his  pigmy  form,  his  yellow  hue,  his  restless 
eye ;  or  a  savage  of  Van  Dieman's  Land,  with  his  lank  hair, 
his  large  head,  his  slender  limbs  ;  we  might  find  it  hard  to 
believe  that  creatures  so  unlike  were  identical  as  species. 
But,  great  as  the  differences  of  external  form  here  are,  we 
fail  to  discover  any  difference  of  conformation  which  can  be 
regarded  as  essential,  or  which  we  should  call  specific.  The 
individuals  of  the  most  dissimilar  tribes  breed  freely  with 
one  another,  and  the  progeny  has  nothing  of  a  hybridal  cha- 
racter, but  is  as  fruitful  as  the  parents  from  which  it  springs  : 
and,  however  dissimilar  the  races  in  question  may  appear  in 
their  external  characters,  there  is  nothing  like  that  great 
dissimilarity  which  we  continually  see  in  creatures  admitted 
to  be  of  the  same  species, — as  the  wild  and  domesticated  Hog, 
and  our  Dogs  of  all  sorts. 

The   other  question,  whether  the   human  races  have  all 


sprung  from  the  loins  of  the  same  parents,  or  been  called 
into  existence  in  different  regions  contemporaneously,  or  at 
different  epochs,  though  continually  mixed  with  the  question 
as  to  the  identity  of  the  species,  is  in  no  respect  necessarily 
involved  in  it.  Although  we  see  far  greater  differences  in  the 
characters  of  animals  produced  by  agencies  which  we  can 
trace  than  in  the  different  races  of  mankind,  and  therefore 
may  reasonably  believe  that  all  men  have  proceeded  from  a 
common  centre,  and  then  have  assumed,  in  the  course  of 
great  periods  of  time,  the  characters  which  they  now  retain, 
yet  this  does  not  resolve  the  question  as  to  which  was  the 
mode  which  the  Creator,  in  his  infinite  wisdom,  ordained  for 
peopling  the  earth  which  he  had  called  into  existence  ;  whe- 
ther, by  diffusing  the  species  from  one  region  of  the  earth, 
or  from  more  than  one.  We  are  not  entitled  to  assume 
that  identical  species  cannot  have  been  called  into  existence 
in  different  regions  of  the  globe,  either  at  the  same  or  at 
different  times.  We  know  nothing  of  Creation,  whatever 
fancies  we  may  build  up  on  our  assumed  knowledge.  We 
may  imagine  that  we  can  observe  something  of  the  first  ap- 
pearance of  life,  as  in  the  fungus,  when  it  multiplies  its  or- 
ganized cells  at  the  rate  of  some  millions  in  an  hour,  or  in 
the  globules  of  the  chyle,  which,  in  their  passage  to  the  heart, 
become  organized  beings  ;  but  of  the  modes  or  times  in  which 
species  first  manifest  themselves  in  any  given  place,  we  are 
as  ignorant  as  of  the  laws  which  determine  species  to  their 
allotted  forms.  We  may  suppose  that  different  parts  of  the 
world  have  produced  identical  species,  as  much  as  that  differ- 
ent parts  of  the  world  have  produced  different  species ;  and 
it  were  absurd  to  seek  to  limit,  as  it  were,  the  Creative  power 
to  our  narrow  conceptions,  by  arguing  that,  under  the  same 
laws  by  which  unlike  animals  have  been  called  forth  in  dif- 
ferent parts  of  the  world,  the  like  animals  cannot  have  been 
so.  It  is  no  solution  of  the  problem  regarding  the  origin  of 
man,  to  adopt,  as  has  been  recently  done,  peculiar  definitions 
of  the  term  species, — as  that  a  species  consists  of  the  like  ani- 


mals  proceeding  from  the  same  stock,  or,  in  other  words,  from 
the  same  individual  or  pair  of  individuals.  For  this  is  not  a 
logical  definition,  but  a  proposition,  which  itself  involves  the 
very  question  at. issue.  It  may  be  believed  by  every  one 
that  all  men  fall  within  the  limits  of  the  same  specific  form  ; 
but  it  were  to  reason  in  a  circle,  to  define  species  as  being 
the  like  animals  derived  from  a  common  stock,  and  thence  to 
infer  that  all  men  are  derived  from  a  common  stock,  because 
they  are  like  one  another.  All  that  we  know  of  species,  it 
has  been  said,  is  the  similarity  of  the  characters  which  we 
call  specific,  to  which  we  may  add  the  possession  of  a  power, 
which  we  observe  in  all  known  species,  to  reproduce  creatures 
possessing  the  like  characters.  But  there  is  nothing  in  any 
known  phenomena  of  the  organic  kingdom  to  shew,  that  in 
the  animal  any  more  than  in  the  vegetable  kingdom,  it  is  a 
law  of  nature,  that  animals  which  fall  within  the  limits  of 
what  we  regard  as  the  same  specific  form,  must  have  been 
derived  from  a  common  stock. 

We  can  know  nothing,  then,  by  means  of  the  unassisted 
reason,  of  the  production  of  the  human  species  ;  and  if  we 
are  permitted  to  reason  concerning  the  times  and  modes  of 
its  diffusion  over  the  earth,  we  must  call  to  our  aid  analogy 
and  reasonable  probabilities,  unless  we  are  to  assume  that 
the  dispersion  of  man  was  itself  a  miracle,  exempt  from  the 
common  course  of  natural  events.  It  were  rash,  nay,  impi- 
ous, to  assert  that  man  could  not  be,  or  has  not  been,  called 
into  existence  in  one  part  of  the  earth's  surface,  and  dis- 
persed, as  from  a  common  centre,  to  all  the  parts  of  the 
world  which  he  now  inhabits.  But  treating  the  question  as 
one  on  which  we  may  lawfully  employ  our  judgment,  it  is 
reasonable  to  inquire  whether  it  be  more  consonant  with  the 
known  course  of  natural  events  to  infer  that  different  races 
of  men — though  within  the  limits  of  the  same  specific  form,and 
so  creatures  of  the  same  kind — had  been  called  forth  in  differ- 
ent regions  of  the  earth  to  occupy  it,  or  that  one  race  only, 
and  this  produced  in  a  single  spot  of  a  boundless  surface,  had 


been  called  into  existence.  We  must  remember  that  the 
time  which  chronology  assigns  to  the  period  of  the  disper- 
sion, little  more  than  2000  years  before  the  birth  of  our  Sa- 
viour, is  a  period  wonderfully  short  for  such  mighty  changes. 
Arid  it  is  hard  to  conceive,  that,  within  periods  of  time  ap- 
proaching to  this,  human  creatures  can  have  transported  them- 
selves through  desolate,  and  even  yet  almost  inaccessible,  re- 
gions, to  the  most  distant  islands  of  the  remotest  seas,  nay, 
lived  and  multiplied  until  every  trace  of  their  ancestry  had 
been  lost,  until  every  art  which  they  had  carried  with  them, 
even  to  every  word  of  their  own  tongue,  had  been  forgotten, 
and  until  they  themselves  had  receded  so  far  from  the  pris- 
tine type  of  their  race,  as  to  leave  the  naturalist  to  question 
whether  they  were  not  to  be  classed  with  an  inferior  tribe 
of  beings.  These  are  great  difficulties,  not  to  be  removed 
by  tracing  the  similarity  of  speech  and  customs,  by  which 
different  sections  of  mankind  are  connected.  For  what  does 
this  similarity  of  speech  and  customs,  even  where  it  seems 
to  be  the  most  clearly  established,  prove  1  It  may  prove  the 
relations  established  between  tribes  and  nations  after  ages 
of  strife,  migrations,  and  admixture  of  races,  but  it  cannot 
prove  the  relations  between  pristine  tribes,  every  trace  of 
whose  very  existence  may  have  been  lost.  It  has  been  be- 
lieved, that  the  people  we  call  Hindoos  extended  themselves 
beyond  the  Indus  within  the  historical  sera,  but  who  were  the 
pre-existing  inhabitants  whom  the  Hindoos,  under  their  Brah- 
minical  leaders,  subdued  ?  There  are  the  vestiges  of  anterior 
races  in  the  country  as  distinct  from  the  Hindoo  as  the  lat- 
ter is  from  the  Kalmuk,  in  aspect,  speech,  customs,  and  tra- 
ditionary legends  ;  and  in  several  of  the  great  Islands  of  the 
Eastern  Seas,  are  insulated  tribes  of  savages  wholly  distinct 
from  the  other  inhabitants,  the  manifest  relicts  of  an  anterior 
people.  In  Europe  the  Celtse  are  known  to  have  settled  from 
a  period  beyond  the  records  of  any  history,  and  yet  the  Celtse 
were  a  people  possessed  of  a  religion,  laws,  an  order  of 
priests,  and  arts,  comprehending  the  knowledge  of  metals. 


But  all  over  the  north  of  Europe,  the  relics  are  found  of 
people   assuredly  anterior  to  the  Celtse,  who  used   stone- 
hatchets  and  flint-headed  arrows,  inferring  a  condition  en- 
tirely savage.     Now,  when  we  compare  languages  as  the 
proof  of  a  common  descent  amongst  tribes  and  nations,  we 
must,  in  order  to  make  our  argument  worth  anything,  com- 
pare the  languages  of  people  in  the  first  ages,  all  the  traces 
of  whose  speech  we  may  suppose  to  have  perished  with  the 
people  themselves.     When  we  compare  the  languages  of  a 
posterior  era,  after  unknown  periods  of  war.  colonization, 
and  the  mixture  of  races,  we  may  prove  the  connexion  esta- 
blished between  countries  and  their  inhabitants,  but  cer- 
tainly not  the  pristine  relation  of  the  first  people  with  one 
another,  or  with  any  common  stem.     Thus  a  race  of  men, 
we  have  seen,  is  assumed  to  have  extended  from  the  ancient 
Aria,  southward  into  the  plains  of  India,   and  northward 
into  the  wilds  of  Scythia,  the  manifest  traces  of  whose  lan- 
guage, the  Sanscrit,  are  found  in  the  speech  of  the  Teutons 
of  the  north,  of  the  Greeks  of  the  west,  of  the  Indians  of 
the  south.     This  proves  the  relation  between  the  members 
of  this  people,  but  not  the  relations  between  races  who,  for 
anything  we  know,  may  have  previously  inhabited  the  same 
countries  long  before  written  speech  was  known.     It  is  no- 
thing strange  that  there  should  be  analogies  in  the  language 
of  different  countries,  when  we  consider  that,  beyond  any  re- 
cords of  history  and  tradition,  tribes  and  nations  have  been 
engaged  in  endless  migrations  and  strife,  exterminating  or 
mingling  with  one  another  ;  and  that  within  the  period  called 
historical,  empires  have  been  formed,  embracing  large  sec- 
tions of  the  whole  human  family.     Further,  all  men  have 
the  like  faculties  and  organs  of  speech,  and  it  is  not  possible 
that  there  should  not  be  analogies  in  the  structure  of  lan- 
guages, even  of  the  most  distant  and  divergent  tribes,  and 
even   similarity  of  words  derived  from  the    same   natural 
sounds.    But  when  we  consider  the  faint  similitudes  which  all 
the  unsparing  labour  of  philologists  has  been  able  to  trace 



between  the  dialects  of  the  rudest  nations,  whose  language 
alone  bears  upon  the  question,  we  have  less  cause  to  wonder 
at  the  resemblance  between  them  than  at  the  radical  diver- 
gence which  they  present,  in  sound,  words,  and  construction. 
And  with  respect  to  similarities  of  customs,  all  men  have, 
within  certain  limits,  the  same  wants,  and  must,  in  innumer- 
able cases,  be  conducted  to  the  same  means  of  satisfying 
these  wants  ;  and  wrhen  we  connect  with  this  general  cause, 
the  effects  of  intercourse  during  unknown  periods  of  time, 
we  have  far  less  cause  to  wonder  at  the  resemblances,  than 
at  the  differences,  in  the  customs  of  nations. 

It  will  be  seen,  then,  that  great  difficulties  present  them- 
selves to  the  supposition  of  the  derivation  of  all  the  varieties  of 
mankind  from  a  common  centre,  at  least  within  the  period 
which  chronology  assigns  to  the  existence  of  the  human  race  ; 
nor  are  difficulties  of  a  different  kind  wanting,  under  any  hypo- 
thesis we  can  form.  It  is  not,  however,  necessary,  with  relation 
to  our  present  inquiry,  to  pursue  this  subject.  Whether  we 
suppose  all  men  to  be  of  the  same  species,  derived  from  a  com- 
mon centre,  or  of  the  same  species,  derived  from  different 
centres,  we  equally  reason  on  the  assumption,  that  great 
changes  have  been  produced  on  the  individuals  by  the  influ- 
ence of  the  agents  affecting  them.  If  we  adopt  the  hypothesis 
of  one  centre  of  dispersion  for  all  the  races  of  mankind,  we 
must  suppose  that  change  of  place  has  converted  the  White 
man  into  a  Negro,  and  may  convert  the  Negro  into  a  White 
man.  If  we  suppose  that  the  Primary  Races  of  the  species 
were  spread  from  different  centres,  as  the  Negro  from  some 
part  of  intertropical  Africa,  the  Caucasian  from  some  country 
of  Western  Asia,  the  Mongolian  from  some  region  of  the  East, 
the  Polynesian  from  one  or  more  foci  in  the  innumerable 
islands  over  which  he  is  spread,  and  the  American  from  re- 
gions proper  to  the  great  Continent  to  which  he  belongs,  and 
so  on ;  we  do  not,  therefore,  infer  that  these  Races  are  not 
severally  subject  to  the  influence  of  external  agencies,  and 
capable  of  undergoing  great  mutations,  under  different  con- 


ditions  of  food,  temperature,  and  habits.  The  Negro  has  all 
his  grosser  features  softened  as  he  recedes  from  the  burning 
regions  of  swamp  and  jungle,  where  his  most  typical  form  is 
developed  ;  the  Kalmuk  loses  much  of  his  harsher  features, 
as  he  becomes  naturalized  towards  the  confines  of  Europe,  and 
even  assumes  a  new  aspect,  when  forced  to  inhabit  the  glacial 
regions  of  his  own  continent ;  the  Turcoman  approaches 
more  to  the  squat  and  sturdy  form  of  the  Mongolian  Tartar 
as  he  extends  eastward,  while  the  Hindoo,  acclimated  in  the 
valley  of  the  Ganges,  differs  so  widely  from  the  native  of  the 
plains  of  Germany,  that  the  aspect  alone  of  the  individuals 
would  not  allow  us  to  identify  them  as  being  of  a  common 
lineage.  These  changes  are  the  result  of  external  agencies, 
and  may  be  regarded  as  the  adaptation  of  the  animal  form 
to  new  conditions.  But  the  effect,  as  it  may  act  on  the  or- 
ganism of  the  Negro,  the  Mongolian,  the  Caucasian,  the 
Malay,  must  differ  in  each,  and  hence  a  great  apparent  mul- 
tiplication of  races  throughout  the  world  may  take  place, 
although  it  may  be  the  effect  of  the  same  agents  acting  on  a 
few  distinct  primary  forms. 

If,  from  the  human  species  we  turn  to  the  inferior  animals, 
we  shall  find  the  like  evidences  of  the  power  of  external 
agents  to  modify  the  animal  form,  and  adapt  it  to  new  con- 
ditions of  life.  Certain  animals,  in  the  state  of  nature,  have 
a  limited  habitat,  and  so  present  characters  nearly  uniform 
throughout ;  others  have  a  very  wide  range  of  place,  in 
which  case  we  never  fail  to  find  them  more  or  less  modified 
in  their  form  and  habits.  The  Common  Wolf,  the  most 
bold  and  savage  of  the  canine  family,  stretched  over  the 
greater  part  of  the  Old  Continent,  and  is  found  in  the  New, 
from  Behring's  'Straits  to  near  the  Isthmus  of  Panama. 
Under  these  immense  limits  he  often  seems  so  changed  that 
he  can  scarcely  be  referred  to  the  same  specific  type.  The 
Bear  extends  from  Norway  along  the  limits  of  the  Arctic 
Regions,  and  thence  to  the  Caucasus  and  all  eastward, 
wherever  woods  suited  to  his  habitudes  exist,  but  so  changed 


that  he  can  scarcely  be  identified  with  the  Brown  Bear  of 
the  Norwegian  Alps.  In  these  and  other  cases,  the  changes 
produced  furnish  continual  matter  of  debate  to  zoologists, 
whether  the  animals  are  to  be  regarded  as  distinct  species, 
or  as  varieties  of  the  same  species. 

The  changes  produced  on  animals  in  a  state  of  nature  by 
different  circumstances,  as  the  nature  of  the  country  they 
inhabit,  the  means  of  obtaining  their  food,  temperature, 
and  altitude,  are  often  very  great ;  but  it  is  when  they  are 
reduced  to  the  domesticated  state,  that  all  the  changes  which 
they  are  capable  of  undergoing  are  manifested  in  the  great- 
est degree.  Sometimes,  as  in  the  case  of  the  Dog,  it  would 
seem  as  if  the  influence  of  human  reason  worked  a  charm 
upon  their  nature,  nay,  modified  the  form  of  their  bodies,  as 
if  to  suit  them  for  new  services.  Sometimes  by  the  mere 
supply  of  aliment,  different  in  kind  from  that  which  they 
procure  in  the  natural  state,  or  in  greater  quantity,  the 
form  of  the  body  changes,  and  with  this  their  instincts  and 
habits ;  and  further,  this  change  in  their  conformation  is 
capable,  under  certain  limits,  of  being  transmitted  to  their 
descendants,  and,  by  continued  reproduction,  of  producing  a 
new  breed,  variety,  or  race. 

The  Wild  Hog,  which  extends  over  the  greater  part  of  the 
Old  Continent,  is  the  undoubted  progenitor  of  the  common 
domesticated  races  of  Europe.  When  this  powerful  and  soli- 
tary creature  is  subjected  to  domestication,  we  shall  find,  in 
the  sequel,  that  not  only  his  form,  but  all  his  habits  change. 
He  may  be  said,  in  fact,  to  become  a  new  species ;  and  he 
transmits  all  his  acquired  characters  to  his  descendants.  The 
parts  of  his  conformation  regarded  as  the  most  constant  in 
the  discrimination,  not  only  of  species  but  of  genera,  change 
under  the  new  relations  in  which  he  is  placed.  In  the 
wild  state,  he  has  six  incisor  teeth  in  the  upper,  and  six  in 
the  lower  jaw ;  but,  under  the  effect  of  domestication,  the 
number  is  generally  reduced  to  three  in  each  jaw.  The  num- 
ber of  his  dorsal,  lumbar,  sacral,  and  caudal  vertebrae,  vary 


so  much,  that  it  may  be  asserted,  that  he  differs  far  more 
from  the  Hog  in  the  state  of  liberty,  than  many  animals  re- 
garded as  distinct  species  differ  from  one  another. 

Amongst  ruminating  animals,  the  Ox  and  the  Sheep  are 
subject  to  great  changes  of  form  and  character,  dependent 
upon  the  kind  and  abundance  of  aliment.  With  increased 
supplies  of  food,  the  abdominal  viscera  become  enlarged,  and 
other  parts  partake  of  corresponding  modifications  of  form. 
To  suit  the  increased  size  of  the  stomach  and  intestinal  canal, 
the  trunk  becomes  larger  in  all  its  dimensions  ;  the  respira- 
tory organs  adapt  themselves  to  the  increased  dimensions  of 
the  alimentary  canal,  which  is  indicated  to  the  eye  by  a 
change  in  the  form  of  the  chest ;  the  limbs  become  shorter 
and  farther  apart,  and  the  body  being  nearer  the  ground, 
the  neck  becomes  more  short ;  various  muscles,  from  disuse, 
diminish  in  size,  and  the  tendency  to  obesity  increases.  With 
the  form  of  the  animals,  their  power  of  active  motion  dimi- 
nishes, and  they  acquire  habits  adapted  to  their  changed 
condition.  These  new  characters  they  communicate  to  their 
progeny ;  and  thus  races  differing  from  those  which,  in  the 
state  of  nature,  would  exist,  are  produced. 

The  Carnivorous  animals,  in  like  manner,  when  taken  from 
the  state  of  nature,  and  made  to  reproduce  in  a  state  of 
slavery,  manifest  their  subjection  to  the  same  laws  of  change. 
The  size  and  proportion  of  their  organs  of  digestion  and  re- 
spiration, nay,  of  the  brain,  the  organ  of  thought,  change ; 
and  with  these,  the  relative  proportion  of  the  head,  limbs, 
and  other  parts,  as  we  shall  see  in  the  sequel,  in  the  case  of 
the  Dog,  who  becomes  almost  plastic  under  the  habitudes  to 
which  we  inure  him. 

And  if  we  turn  from  quadrupeds  to  the  feathered  tribes, 
we  shall  find  the  like  proofs  of  the  power  of  food  and  habi- 
tudes to  change  the  form,  and  with  it  the  very  instincts  of 
the  animals.  The  Domestic  Goose  is  derived  from  the  Wild 
of  the  same  species,  which  inhabits  the  boundless  marshes 
of  northern  latitudes.  This  noble  bird  visits  us  on  the  ap- 


proach  of  the  arctic  winter,  in  those  remarkable  troops  which 
all  of  us  have  beheld  cleaving  the  air  like  a  wedge,  often  at 
a  vast  height,  and  sometimes  only  recognised  by  their  shrill 
voices  amongst  the  clouds.  When  the  eggs  of  this  species 
are  obtained,  and  the  young  are  supplied  with  food  in  unli- 
mited quantity,  the  result  is  remarkable.  The  intestines, 
and  with  them  the  abdomen,  become  so  much  enlarged,  that 
the  animal  nearly  loses  the  power  of  flight,  and  the  powerful 
muscles  that  enabled  him,  when  in  the  wild  state,  to  take 
such  flights,  become  feeble  from  disuse,  and  his  long  wings 
are  rendered  unserviceable.  The  beautiful  bird  that  out- 
stripped the  flight  of  the  eagle,  is  now  a  captive  without  a 
chain.  A  child  will  guide  him  to  his  resting-place  with  a 
wand,  and  he  is  unable  to  raise  himself  by  flight  above  the 
walls  of  the  yard  that  confine  him ;  and  he  gives  birth  to  a 
race  of  creatures  as  helpless  and  removed  from  the  natural 
condition  as  he  himself  had  become. 

The  Wild  Duck,  too,  affords  us  a  similar  example.  This 
wary  bird  arrives  in  flocks  from  the  vast  morasses  of  the 
colder  countries.  Many  pairs  remain  in  the  swamps,  pools, 
and  sedgy  rivers,  of  lower  latitudes ;  but  the  greater  number 
retrace  their  flight  to  the  boundless  regions  where  they 
themselves  have  been  hatched,  and  where  they  can  rear  their 
young  in  safety.  If  the  eggs  of  this  bird  be  taken,  and  the 
young  be  supplied  with  food  in  the  manner  usual  in  the  do- 
mestic state,  the  animals  will  have  changed  the  form,  in- 
stincts, and  habits  of  their  race.  Like  the  Goose,  they  lose 
the  power  of  flight  by  the  increased  size  of  their  abdomen, 
and  the  diminished  power  of  their  pectoral  muscles ;  and 
other  parts  of  their  body  are  altered  to  suit  this  conforma- 
tion. All  their  habits  change ;  they  lose  the  caution  and 
sense  of  danger  which,  in  their  native  state,  they  possessed. 
The  male  no  longer  retires  with  a  single  female  to  breed,  but 
becomes  polygamous,  and  his  progeny  lose  the  power  and 
the  will  to  regain  the  freedom  of  their  race.  The  Swan,  the 
noblest  of  all  the  water-fowls,  becomes  chained,  as  it  were, 


to  our  lakes  and  ponds,  by  the  mere  change  of  his  natural 

The  common  gallinaceous  fowls,  in  the  state  of  nature, 
live  amongst  trees,  and,  when  subjugated,  still  retain  the 
desire  to  roost  on  elevated  objects.  But  they  can  now  with 
difficulty  ascend  the  perches  prepared  for  them ;  their  abdo- 
minal viscera  having  extended,  their  bodies  have  enlarged 
posteriorly,  the  breast  has  become  wider,  and  the  neck  more 
short,  and  their  wings  having  become  insufficient  to  support 
the  increased  weight  of  their  bodies,  they  have  almost  lost 
the  power  of  flight ;  and  so  changed  is  their  entire  conforma- 
tion, that  naturalists  can  but  conjecture  from  what  parent 
stock  they  have  been  derived. 

Besides  the  effect  of  increased  or  diminished  supplies  of 
food  in  modifying  the  animal  form,  much  is  to  be  ascribed  to 
temperature,  humidity,  altitude,  and,  consequently,  the  rarity 
or  density  of  the  air.  The  effect  of  heat  is  everywhere  ob- 
served, as  it  modifies  the  secretions  which  give  colour  to  the 
skin,  and  the  degree  of  covering  provided  for  the  protection 
of  the  body,  whether  wool  or  hair.  In  the  case  of  the  human 
species,  the  effects  of  temperature  on  the  colour  of  the  skin, 
and,  with  this,  on  the  colour  of  the  eyes  and  hair,  are  sufficient- 
ly known.  We  cannot  pass  from  the  colder  parts  of  Europe 
to  the  warmer,  without  marking  the  progressive  diversities  of 
colour,  from  the  light  complexion  of  the  northern  nations, 
to  the  swarthy  tinge  of  the  Spaniards,  Italians,  and  Greeks ; 
and  when  we  have  crossed  the  Mediterranean  into  Africa, 
the  dark  colour,  which  is  proper  to  all  the  warmer  regions  of 
the  globe,  everywhere  meets  the  eye.  The  Jews,  naturally 
as  fair  as  the  other  inhabitants  of  Syria,  become  gradually 
darker,  as  they  have  been  for  a  longer  or  shorter  time  accli- 
mated in  the  warmer  countries ;  and  in  the  plains  of  the 
Ganges,  they  are  as  dark  as  Hindoos.  The  Portuguese  who 
have  been  naturalized  in  the  African  colonies  of  their  nation, 
have  become  entirely  black.  If  we  suppose,  indeed,  the  great 
races  of  mankind  to  have  been  called  into  existence  in  differ- 


ent  regions,  we  must  suppose  that  they  were  born  with  the 
colour,  as  well  as  the  other  attributes,  suited  to  the  climates 
of  the  countries  which  they  were  to  inhabit.  It  accords  with 
this  supposition,  that  the  Negro  remains  always  black,  even 
in  the  highest  latitudes  to  which  he  has  been  carried ;  and 
that  the  black  races  of  the  Eastern  Islands  retain  the  colour 
proper  to  them  in  the  mild  temperature  of  Van  Diemen's 
Land.  The  Mongolian,  even  in  the  coldest  regions  of  North- 
ern Asia,  retains  the  hue  distinctive  of  his  family,  but  with  a 
continually  deepening  shade  as  he  approaches  to  the  inter- 
tropical  countries.  The  native  of  China,  of  a  dull  yellow 
tint  at  Pekin,  is  at  Canton  nearly  as  dark  as  a  Lascar.  The 
American  Indian  retains  his  distinctive  copper  hue  amid  the 
snows  of  Labrador ;  but,  on  the  shores  of  the  Caribbean  Sea, 
becomes  nearly  as  black  as  an  African. 

Temperature  likewise  affects  the  size  and  form  of  the  body. 
The  members  of  the  Caucasian  group  towards  the  Arctic 
Circle  are  of  far  inferior  bulk  of  body  to  the  natives  of  tem- 
perate countries.  The  Central  Asiatics,  in  elevated  plains, 
are  sturdy  and  short,  the  result  of  an  expansion  of  the 
chest  ;  the  Hindoos  are  of  slender  form  and  low  physical 
powers,  so  that  they  have  almost  always  yielded  to  the 
superior  force  of  the  northern  nations,  from  the  first  in- 
vasion of  the  Macedonians,  to  the  ultimate  establishment 
of  European  power  in  the  Peninsula.  The  Negro,  on  the 
other  hand,  in  the  hottest  and  most  pestilential  regions  of 
the  habitable  earth,  where  the  Caucasian  either  perishes,  or 
becomes  as  slender  as  a  stripling,  is  of  a  strength  and  sta- 
ture which  would  be  deemed  great  in  any  class  of  men, 
affording  a  strong  presumption  in  favour  of  the  opinion  of 
the  distinctness  of  his  race,  and  its  special  adaptation  to  the 
region  in  which  it  has  been  placed. 

In  quadrupeds,  the  effects  of  temperature  are  everywhere 
observable  in  the  covering  provided  for  their  body,  whether 
wool  or  hair,  and  which,  in  the  same  species,  is  always  more 
abundant  in  the  colder  than  in  the  warmer  countries.  In 


all  quadrupeds  there  is  a  growth  of  down  or  wool  under- 
neath the  hair,  and  more  or  less  mixed  with  it.  In  warm 
countries,  this  wool  is  little  if  at  all  developed  ;  but,  in  the 
colder,  it  frequently  becomes  the  principal  covering  of  the 
skin,  forming,  along  with  the  hair,  a  thick  fur.  In  the  warm- 
est regions,  the  domestic  sheep  produces  scarcely  any  wool ; 
in  temperate  countries  he  has  a  fleece  properly  so  called  ; 
and  in  the  coldest  of  all,  his  wool  is  mixed  with  long  hair 
which  covers  it  externally.  The  wool,  an  imperfect  conduc- 
tor of  heat,  preserves  the  natural  temperature  of  the  body, 
and  thus  protects  the  animal  from  cold,  while  the  long  hair 
is  fitted  to  throw  off  the  water  which  falls  upon  the  body  in 
rain  or  snow.  But  in  the  warm  season  the  wool,  which 
would  be  incommodious,  falls  off,  to  be  renewed  before  win- 
ter, while  the  hair  always  remains.  The  Dog,  too,  has  a 
coat  of  wool,  which  he  loses  in  countries  of  great  heat,  but 
which,  in  colder  countries,  grows  so  as  to  form,  along  with 
the  hair,  a  thick  fur,  so  that,  in  certain  colcT  countries,  there 
have  been  formed  breeds  of  dogs  to  produce  wool  for  cloth- 
ing. The  dogs  of  Europe  conveyed  to  warm  countries  fre- 
quently lose  even  their  hair,  and  become  as  naked  as  ele- 
phants, and  in  every  country  their  fur  is  suited  to  the  nature 
of  the  climate. 

Similar  to  the  effects  of  temperature  is  that  of  humidity, 
the  hair  becoming  longer  and  more  oily  in  the  moister  coun- 
tries. Even  within  the  limits  of  our  own  Islands,  the  Ox  of 
the  western  coasts,  exposed  to  the  humid  vapours  of  the  At- 
lantic, has  longer  hair  than  the  Ox  of  the  eastern  districts. 
Even  the  effect  of  continued  exposure  to  winds  and  storms 
may  modify  parts  of  the  animal  form.  There  are  certain 
breeds  of  gallinaceous  fowls  which  are  destitute  of  the  rump 
so  called.  Most  of  the  common  fowls  of  the  Isle  of  Arran, 
on  the  coast  of  Scotland,  have  this  peculiarity.  This  little 
island  consists  of  high  hills,  on  which  scarcely  a  bush  exists 
to  shelter  the  animals  which  inhabit  it  from  the  continued 
gales  of  the  Atlantic.  The  feathers  of  a  long  tail  might  in- 


commode  the  animals,  and  therefore,  we  may  suppose,  they 
disappear  ;  and  were  peacocks  to  be  reared  under  similar 
circumstances,  it  is  probable, that,  in  the  course  of  successive 
generations,  they  would  lose  the  beautiful  appendage  which 
they  bring  from  their  native  jungles. 

The  effects,  likewise,  of  altitude  are  to  be  numbered 
amongst  those  which  modify  the  characters  of  animals.  In 
general,  the  animals  of  mountains  are  smaller  and  more  agile 
than  those  of  the  same  species  inhabiting  plains.  In  man, 
the  pulse  increases  in  frequency  as  he  ascends  into  the  at- 
mosphere, so  that,  while  at  the  level  of  the  sea. the  number 
of  beats  is  70  in  a  minute,  at  the  height  of  4000  feet  the 
number  exceeds  100.  The  air  being  rarer,  a  greater  quan- 
tity of  it  must  be  drawn  into  the  lungs  to  afford  the  oxygen 
necessary  to  carry  off  the  excess  of  carbon  in  the  system. 
But  gradually,  as  man  and  other  animals  become  naturalized 
in  an  elevated  country,  the  digestive  and  respiratory  organs, 
and  with  these  the  capacity  of  the  chest  and  abdomen,  become 
suited  to  their  new  relations.  Humboldt  remarks  on  the  ex- 
traordinary development  of  the  chest  in  the  inhabitants  of 
the  Andes,  producing  even  deformity  ;  and  he  justly  observes, 
that  this  is  a  consequence  of  the  rarity  of  the  air  which  de- 
mands an  extension  of  the  lungs. 

The  effects  have  been  referred  to  of  use  or  exercise  in  mo- 
difying certain  parts  of  the  animal  form.  The  limbs  of  many 
animals  inured  or  compelled  to  speed  become  extended  in 
length,  as  of  the  dogs  employed  in  the  chase  of  the  swifter  ani- 
mals. The  limbs  of  an  animal  deprived  of  the  means  of  mo- 
tion become  feeble  and  small,  as  the  wings  of  domesticated 
birds.  In  the  natural  state,  the  cow  has  a  small  udder,  yet 
sufficient  to  contain  the  milk  which  her  young  requires ;  in 
the  domesticated  state,  by  milking  her,  the  organ  becomes 
enlarged,  so  as  to  contain  a  quantity  of  milk,  beyond  what 
the  wants  of  her  own  offspring  demand.  Nor  are  the  charac- 
ters thus  acquired  confined  to  the  individuals  on  which  they 
have  been  impressed,  but  may  be  transmitted  to  their  pos- 


te-rity.  Some  of  the  wild  horsemen  of  the  plains  of  South 
America  are,  from  infancy,  continually  on  horseback,  and 
their  limbs  are  observed  to  become  slender  and  almost  unfit 
for  walking,  which  characters  reappear  in  the  children  of  the 
tribe.  Amongst  the  causes,  then,  which  tend  to  form  va- 
rieties, are  to  be  numbered  the  habitudes  of  animals,  whether 
in  the  wild  or  domesticated  state. 

Of  the  means  by  which  the  animal  organism  becomes 
adapted  to  new  relations  we  know  nothing.  We  see  that 
within  the  limits  of  the  specific  form,  animals  become  suited 
to  the  nature  and  abundance  of  their  aliment,  to  the  condi- 
tion of  the  external  air  with  respect  to  temperature,  humi- 
dity, and  density,  and  to  the  habits  imposed  upon  them  for 
obtaining  their  vegetable  food  when  they  are  herbivorous,  or 
capturing  their  prey  when  they  feed  on  flesh ;  but  how  or 
why  this  is,  we  know  no  more  than  how  or  why  animals  as- 
sume and  preserve  the  form  proper  to  their  species.  We 
may  well  believe  that  species  are  called  forth,  and  their 
forms  placed  in  the  fitting  relation  with  external  nature,  in 
obedience  to  some  grand  system  of  Natural  Laws,  the  results 
of  which  we  may  hope  in  certain  cases  to  trace,  but  of  the 
efficient  cause  of  which  we  cannot  hope  to  obtain  a  know- 
ledge. But  when  we  speak  of  causes  in  common  language, 
we  do  not,  it  is  well  known,  refer  to  what  metaphysicians 
term  efficient  causes,  but  to  the  antecedents  of  those  pheno- 
mena which  we  term  effects  ;  and  it  is  in  this  sense  that  we 
say  that  the  causes  of  the  varieties  of  animal  species  are 
food,  climate,  habitudes,  and  the  other  agencies  whose  effects 
we  have  the  means  of  observing. 

But  all  the  causes  enumerated  would  not  of  themselves  be 
sufficient  to  form  permanent  varieties  or  breeds,  were  it  not 
for  that  other  law  of  the  animal  economy  by  which  animals 
are  enabled  to  communicate  the  characters  acquired  to  their 
progeny,  and  by  which  the  latter  are  enabled  to  retain  those 
characters  with  more  or  less  constancy. 

That  animals  which,  from  any  cause,  have  acquired  a  pecu- 


liar  conformation,  may  transmit  the  same  properties  of  form 
to  their  young,  and  these  again  to  their  descendants,  has  been 
matter  of  observation  in  every  age.  The  greyhound  com- 
municates to  his  progeny,  the  flexible  neck,  the  long  back, 
the  slender  agile  limbs,  which  fit  him  for  capturing  his  prey 
by  speed  ;  the  blood-hound  transmits  his  expanded  nostril, 
fitted  for  that  surpassing  sense  of  smell  which  enables  him 
to  follow  the  evanescent  traces  of  his  victim  upon  the  ground  ; 
the  bull-dog  transmits  to  his  young  his  muscular  form  and 
powerful  jaws.  No  one  ever  expects  to  see  two  greyhounds 
produce  an  animal  like  a  terrier ;  two  blood-hounds,  one  re- 
sembling a  shepherd's  cur;  two  bull-dogs,  any  animal  dif- 
ferent in  essential  characters  from  themselves.  And  in  all 
those  varieties  of  the  other  domesticated  animals  which  we 
term  breeds,  the  constancy  of  the  law  of  transmitted  proper- 
ties is  alike  manifested.  The  Merino  sheep  communicates  to 
its  young  the  properties  which  it  has  acquired  on  the  moun- 
tain pastures  of  Spain,  of  producing  a  short  unctuous  wool, 
and  this  in  localities  so  different  as  in  the  granitic  soils  of 
Sweden,  the  plains  of  Silesia,  the  sands  of  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope,  and  the  myrtle  forests  of  New  Holland.  The  Horse 
of  the  Arabian  deserts,  wherever  he  is  carried,  communicates 
to  his  descendants  the  properties  distinctive  of  his  race.  The 
great  Black  Horse  of  the  meadows  of  Flanders  transmits  to 
his  progeny  the  massive  form  and  very  colour  which  he  has 
himself  acquired ;  the  Race-Horse  of  England,  the  conforma- 
tion which  adapts  him  to  rapid  motion  ;  the  Pony  of  Norway, 
the  characters  which  have  fitted  him  for  a  country  of  heaths 
and  mountains  :  and  so  on  in  every  case  where  animals,  by 
successive  reproduction  with  one  another,  have  acquired  the 
common  properties  which  constitute  a  breed. 

In  the  human  species,  that  similarity  of  features  which  is 
termed  family  likeness,  is  a  familiar  example  of  the  same 
effect,  not  only  manifesting  itself  in  the  immediate  descend- 
ants, but  reappearing  often  after  several  generations.  The 
community  of  character  which  constitutes  national  resem- 


blance,  is  matter  likewise  of  common  observation.  By  the 
successive  reproduction  between  the  individuals  of  a  tribe  or 
nation,  a  common  set  of  characters  is  by  degrees  acquired, 
which,  becoming  permanent,  generate  a  true  race.  This 
effect  is  most  notable  in  small  and  insulated  tribes,  whose 
members  intermarry  only  with  one  another.  In  the  Ameri- 
can forests,  many  of  the  tribes  of  Indians  can  be  distinguished 
from  one  another  at  a  glance.  In  the  case  of  the  Celtic  na- 
tives of  Europe,  the  Clans  became  frequently  as  much  dis- 
tinguished from  one  another  by  feature  as  by  their  mutual 
hatred ;  and  the  characters  which  they  had  acquired  are  in 
many  cases  retained  by  their  descendants  to  the  present 
hour.  In  the  countries  of  the  East,  where  the  barrier  of 
castes  had  been  established,  all  the  distinctions  of  race  are 
seen  to  be  established,  so  that  the  members  of  different  castes 
can  be  discriminated  from  one  another  as  readily  as  the  in- 
habitants of  distant  countries. 

It  has  been  frequently  observed,  that  what  are  termed  ac- 
cidental variations  are  susceptible  of  being  transmitted  and 
rendered  permanent  characters.  Some  persons  have  been 
born  with  six  fingers  or  toes,  and  this  peculiarity  being  trans- 
mitted, has  continued  in  the  same  family  for  generations. 
The  case  of  a  family  in  England,  whose  bodies  were  covered 
with  cuticular  appendages  resembling  the  quills  of  porcu- 
pines, has  been  often  cited ;  and  a  breed  of  sheep  in  America 
was  procured,  having  short  limbs  resembling  those  of  an 
otter,  and  therefore  termed  the  otter  breed.  We  cannot, 
however,  term  such  varieties  accidental.  There  is  nothing 
in  the  phenomena  of  nature,  to  which  the  term  accident  can 
be  justly  applied.  The  characters  were  doubtless  the  result 
of  some  organic  change  proper  to  the  animals  in  which  they 
appeared,  and  their  transmission  to  their  progeny  is  only  the 
exemplification  of  a  law  common  to  other  cases  of  transmitted 

The  permanence  of  characters  acquired  by  varieties  is  often 
wonderfully  great.  In  the  sculptured  monuments  of  the 


Egyptians,  are  to  be  found  the  delineation  of  features  which 
may  still  be  traced  in  the  degraded  Fellahs  of  the  country. 
The  Jews,  after  the  lapse  of  many  centuries,  retain,  in  in- 
numerable cases,  the  lineaments  of  their  race,  and  although 
influenced,  in  the  colour  of  the  skin,  by  effects  of  temperature, 
may  yet  be  discriminated,  in  countries  where  they  have  been 
naturalized,  as  a  distinct  people.  The  wandering  tribes  of 
Gipsies,  which  are  spread  over  a  great  part  of  Europe,  retain, 
after  many  centuries,  the  essential  characters  of  their  race, — 
the  swarthy  visage,  the  keen  dark  eye,  the  lank  black  hair. 
In  India,  there  exist  whole  tribes  as  much  distinct  in  aspect, 
as  in  speech  and  customs,  from  all  around  them,  although 
every  trace  of  their  ancestry  has  been  lost ;  and  in  the  same 
country  the  Parsees,  driven  beyond  the  Indus  by  the  Moham- 
medans, seem  to  be  nearly  the  same  people  as  when  expelled 
from  their  Persian  homes.  The  Laplanders,  amid  the  snows 
of  the  Arctic  regions,  have  preserved  the  colour  and  features 
indicative  of  their  Asiatic  descent ;  and  the  Negroes,  reduced 
to  bondage  in  a  distant  land,  have  preserved  from  age  to  age 
all  the  essential  lineaments  and  characters  distinctive  of  the 
African  family. 

In  the  case  of  the  domesticated  quadrupeds,  we  find  simi- 
lar evidences  of  the  wonderful  permanence  of  characters  once 
acquired  and  imprinted  on  the  animals.  In  certain  breeds  of 
oxen  and  sheep,  the  animals  retain  from  generation  to  gene- 
ration their  distinctive  marks,  the  presence  or  absence  of 
horns,  the  length  and  peculiar  bending  of  these  appendages, 
and  even  the  minutest  variations  of  colour,  as  spots  of  white 
or  black  on  certain  parts  of  the  body.  We  are  made  ac- 
quainted with  the  peculiar  colour  of  the  horses  of  some  of  the 
barbarous  hordes  that  entered  Italy  when  the  empire  fell, 
as  piebald  and  clouded ;  and  the  colour  is  yet  preserved  in 
some  of  the  races  of  modern  Italy. 

The  degree  of  permanence  of  the  acquired  properties  of 
races  may  be  supposed  to  bear  some  ratio  to  the  time  during 
which  an  intermixture  of  blood  has  been  continued  amongst 


the  members  of  a  common  stock.  When  two  animals  of  dis- 
similar characters  breed  together,  the  progeny  partake  of  the 
properties  of  both  parents.  It  is  only  by  continued  repro- 
duction between  their  descendants,  that  a  common  class  of 
characters  is  acquired,  and  a  true  variety  formed ;  and  the 
longer  this  successive  reproduction  and  intermixture  of  blood 
are  carried  on,  the  more  permanent  may  the  transmitted 
characters  be  supposed  to  become. 

It  appears,  too,  that  the  nearer  animals  are  allied  in  blood, 
the  more  quickly  is  the  similarity  of  characters  distinctive  of 
a  breed  acquired.  In  the  practice  of  English  breeders,  it  has 
not  been  uncommon  to  unite  brothers  with  sisters,  and  pa- 
rents with  their  direct  progeny,  and  to  carry  on  this  system 
for  a  long  period.  The  physiological  effect  is  remarkable, 
not  only  producing  more  quickly  that  community  of  charac- 
ters which  constitutes  a  breed,  but  affecting  the  temperament 
and  constitution  of  the  animals.  Under  this  system  long 
continued,  the  animals  manifest  symptoms  of  degeneracy,  as 
if  a  violence  had  been  done  to  their  natural  instincts.  They 
become,  as  it  were,  sooner  old  ;  the  males  lose  their  virile" 
aspect,  and  become  at  length  incapable  of  propagating  their 
race,  and  the  females  lose  the  power  of  secreting  milk  in  suf- 
ficient quantity  to  nourish  their  young.  These  effects  may 
not  for  a  time  be  very  observable,  but,  by  carrying  on  the 
system  sufficiently  far,  they  never  fail  to  manifest  themselves. 
Dogs  continually  reproduced  from  the  same  litter  exhibit, 
after  a  time,  the  aspect  of  feebleness  and  degeneracy.  The 
hair  becomes  scanty,  or  falls  off,  the  size  diminishes,  the 
limbs  become  slender,  the  eyes  sunk,  and  all  the  characters 
of  early  age  present  themselves.  Hogs  have  been  made 
the  subjects  of  similar  experiments.  After  a  few  generations, 
the  victims  manifest  the  change  induced  in  the  system.  They 
become  of  diminished  size,  the  bristles  are  changed  into  hair, 
the  limbs  become  feeble  and  short,  the  litters  diminish  in 
frequency  and  in  the  number  of  the  young  produced,  the 
mother  becomes  unable  to  nourish  them,  and,  if  the  experi- 


ment  be  carried  as  far  as  the  case  will  allow,  the  feeble  and 
frequently  monstrous  offspring  will  be  incapable  of  being 
reared  up,  and  thus  the  miserable  race  will  utterly  perish. 

In  the  state  of  liberty  these  effects  do  not  manifest  them- 
selves. The  instincts  of  the  animals,  it  may  be  believed, 
cause  them  to  choose  the  fitting  mates  for  propagating  their 
own  race.  In  man,  the  continued  alliance  of  individuals  too 
near  in  blood,  is  prevented  by  conscience,  and  by  feelings 
which  seem  innate.  In  carnivorous  quadrupeds,  what  we 
term  instinct  supplies  the  place  of  judgment  and  reflection, 
and  the  females  make  choice  of  certain  males  in  preference 
to  others,  by  which  means,  it  is  to  be  believed,  the  race  is 
preserved  from  deterioration  by  unsuitable  combinations.  In 
the  case  of  the  social  herbivorous  quadrupeds,  the  end  is  at- 
tained by  the  males  being  possessed  of  the  power  and  desire 
to  expel  the  feebler  members  of  the  herd  during  the  season 
of  sexual  intercourse.  The  bull,  with  his  powerful  neck, 
possesses  only  short  blunted  horns,  fitted,  not  to  destroy  his 
rivals  by  shedding  their  blood,  but  to  expel  them  for  a  time 
from  the  herd.  Thus  he  drives  away  the  younger  and  feebler 
members,  until  compelled  in  his  turn  to  yield  to  younger 
rivals.  The  ram  is  furnished  with  a  thick  forehead  fitted  for 
butting,  by  which  means  he  is  enabled  to  stun,  without  de- 
stroying, his  rivals  of  the  flock.  In  the  deer  tribes  are  pro- 
duced, at  the  season  of  sexual  desire,  those  huge  antlers  by 
which  the  stronger  males  are  enabled  to  terrify  and  subdue 
the  weaker  ;  but  these  organs  are  temporary,  and,  after  the 
season  of  rutting,  fall  off,  to  be  renewed  at  the  fitting  time 
in  the  following  year.  By  these  and  other  means  we  are 
entitled  to  infer  that  a  natural  provision  is  made  against  the 
effects  of  unsuitable  alliances  of  animals  in  the  natural  state. 
It  is  only  when  in  the  state  of  absolute  slavery,  that  we  are 
enabled  to  overcome  the  instinctive  feelings  of  the  animals 
subjected  to  our  power,  and  to  compel  them  to  relinquish,  as 
it  were,  their  natural  appetites. 

The  characters  which  animals  of  the  same  species  trans- 


mit  to  their  descendants  so  as  to  constitute  varieties,  are,  we 
have  seen,  those  of  the  body ;  but  the  mechanism  of  the 
body  reacts  upon  the  mind,  and  faculties  which  we  term 
mental  are  therefore  transmissive.  No  one  can  doubt  that 
instinct  is  due  to  the  mechanism  of  the  nerves,  and  that 
even  the  higher  attributes  of  reason  are  due  to  the  develop- 
ment of  the  nervous  system  in  the  brain.  But  we  can  ob- 
tain, by  breeding,  animals  with  crania  of  different  size  and 
form,  and  consequently,  with  brains  of  different  capacity  and 
powers.  Thus  we  can  produce,  by  exercise,  and  by  selection 
of  the  parents,  a  dog,  whose  cranium  shall  be  small  and  flat, 
corresponding  with  the  elongation  of  the  muzzle,  and  who 
shall  possess  different  propensities  from  another,  whose  brain 
being  rounder,  is  larger,  and  who  is  enabled  to  exercise  facul- 
ties for  our  preservation  and  defence,  which  we  cannot  dis- 
tinguish from  reason. 

The  Hog,  we  have  seen,  communicates  to  his  posterity, 
along  with  his  change  of  form,  instincts  and  habits  as  diffe- 
rent from  those  existing  in  the  natural  state  as  if  he  had  be- 
come a  new  species.  From  being  a  nocturnal  animal,  he  has 
acquired  a  desire  to  seek  his  food  during  the  day,  and,  from 
being  solitary,  he  has  become  social,  so  that  the  male  never, 
in  a  state  of  the  utmost  liberty  we  allow  him,  separates  from 
his  fellows  of  the  herd.  The  subjugated  birds  convey  to 
their  descendants  a  new  set  of  habitudes  and  propensities  : 
they  lose  the  once  irresistible  desire  to  retire  in  single  pairs, 
and  bring  up  the  young  apart,  and  become  entirely  polyga- 
mous. The  greyhound,  whose  nose  is  small,  and  his  body 
fitted  for  rapid  motion,  conveys,  with  the  conformation  of 
his  organs,  the  desire  of  capturing  his  prey  by  speed  alone. 
A  puppy  greyhound  will,  the  first  time  he  springs  a  covey  of 
partridges,  dash  after  them  at  speed;  while  the  young  pointer, 
with  the  great  development  which  has  been  communicated  to 
his  nasal  organ,  will  stand  as  if  entranced,  nay,  if  of  a  highly 
cultivated  breed,  will  couch  upon  the  ground  like  the  parents 


who  had  been  disciplined  to  the  act.  The  young  terrier,  the 
first  time  he  sees  a  rabbit,  will  track  him  to  his  burrow ;  the 
young  water-spaniel  will  strive  to  seize  the  objects  which  he 
sees  floating  in  the  stream,  though  he  has  never  before  be- 
held a  rivulet ;  the  young  bull-dog  will  fly  at  the  throat  of 
the  first  animal  that  assails  him.  The  race-horse,  to  whom 
we  have  communicated  the  conformation  which  suits  him  for 
rapid  motion,  will  manifest  the  fiery  spirit  proper  to  him,  by 
his  mother's  side,  a  few  hours  after  birth.  The  Arabian 
horse,  with  his  broad  and  high  forehead,  indicating  a  larger 
development  of  the  brain,  manifests  a  far  superior  sagacity 
to  the  humbler  horse  of  inferior  lineage.  Of  the  breeds  of 
the  domestic  sheep,  some  are  acclimated  in  countries  of  heaths 
and  mountains,  and  some  in  the  richer  plains.  Each  has 
acquired  the  conformation  which  suits  him  to  these  condi- 
tions. If  we  take  the  mountain-lamb  from  its  mother's  teat 
at  the  very  birth,  and  bring  it  to  the  valley  below,  we  shall 
find  it  still,  when  grown  to  maturity,  prefer  the  smaller 
grasses,  the  wild  thyme,  and  other  plants  of  mountains,  to 
the  richer  herbage,  and  betake  itself  to  the  arid  eminences 
of  its  pasture-fields  in  preference  to  the  sheltered  hollows, 
and  communicate  these  desires  to  its  offspring.  Are  not 
such  propensities  as  these  mental,  and  the  result  of  a  con- 
formation of  the  animal  organs,  and  consequently  transmis- 
sive  from  the  parents  to  the  young  ?  Thus,  habits  acquired 
may  assuredly  be  communicated  from  animal  to  animal.  We 
cannot  indeed  suppose  that  a  young  puppy  would  turn  a  spit, 
or  dance  to  a  tune,  because  its  parents  had  been  taught  to 
do  so,  but  we  can  suppose  that  if  a  race  of  dogs  had  been 
compelled,  from  generation  to  generation,  to  dance  and  turn 
spits,  they  would  acquire  the  conformation  which  would  suit 
them  to  perform  these  offices ;  which  would  be  nothing  more 
than  one  of  innumerable  examples  of  the  progressive  adap- 
tation of  the  form  of  animals  to  the  uses  to  which  they  are 

Even  mutilation  of  the  body  may,  in  certain  cases,  produce 


partial  changes  of  conformation,  which,  being  communicated, 
become  permanent  characters.  If  one  organ  is  injured  or 
removed,  a  provision  is  frequently  made  to  compensate  the 
loss.  In  some  parts  of  Scotland  it  appears  to  have  become 
a  practice  to  scoop  out  the  horns  of  young  cattle,  on  the  sup- 
position that  the  animals  would  become  more  quiet,  and  less 
apt  to  attack  or  gore  one  another.  It  would  appear  that  the 
system  of  the  animal  tended  to  repair  this  injury  by  a  larger 
development  of  the  bony  ridge  of  the  forehead,  from  which 
the  osseous  nuclei  of  the  horns  proceed ;  and  that  this  pro- 
cess, carried  on  from  generation  to  generation,  became  at 
length  a  character,  so  that  a  hornless  breed  was  produced. 
There  is  a  race  of  shepherds'  dogs  in  this  country,  in  which 
it  appears  it  had  become  a  fashion  to  shorten  the  tails  of 
the  animals.  Now,  a  diminution  of  the  caudal  vertebrae  may 
produce  a  modification  of  the  sacral  in  contact  with  them, 
and  thus  a  peculiar  conformation  be  communicated  to  the 
animals,  which  may  become  permanent  by  successive  repro- 
duction. Whether  this  be  the  origin  of  the  peculiarity  of 
the  race  of  dogs  in  question,  cannot  be  determined  ;  but  it 
is  known,  that  when,  from  any  cause,  dogs  are  born  destitute 
of  tails,  the  peculiarity  may  be  communicated  to  their  de- 
scendants, and  become  permanent.* 

Characters,  then,  of  form,  and  of  habits  and  instincts  the 
results  of  form,  may  be  communicated  from  animals  to  their 
progeny,  and  form  Varieties,  Races,  or  Breeds.  We  distin- 
guish a  species  from  a  variety  by  this,  that  in  the  species 
we  regard  the  modification  of  a  higher  or  more  general  type, 
namely,  of  a  genus,  tribe,  or  family ;  in  the  variety,  the  modi- 
fication of  a  lower  or  less  general  type,  namely,  of  a  species. 
But  the  variety  is  likewise  the  modification  of  the  more  gene- 

*  There  is  an  authentic  record,  quoted  by  Dr  James  Anderson,  of  a  cat 
which  was  accidentally  deprived  of  its  tail  when  young.  The  kittens  of  this 
animal  were  born  without  tails,  which  character  their  descendants  retained  as 
long  as  they  were  kept  free  from  intermixture  with  other  breeds  ;  and  in  the 
Isle  of  Man,  at  this  day,  all  the  native  cats  have  the  tails  short  or  rudimental. 


ral  type,  and  there  is,  thus  far,  no  distinction  between  the  va- 
riety and  the  species.  It  may  be  said,  indeed,  that  the  charac- 
ters of  the  species  are  more  lasting  than  those  of  the  varie- 
ty :  but,  unless  we  are  to  assume  that  the  forms  of  animals  are 
immutable,  this  is  a  difference  in  degree  and  not  in  kind  ; 
and  a  variety,  therefore,  does  not  differ  in  kind  from  a  spe- 
cies. It  may  readily  be  supposed,  then,  that  with  respect  to 
certain  animals,  questions  may  arise,  whether  they  be  species 
or  varieties.  But  if  the  only  real  difference  between  a  spe- 
cies and  variety  be,  that  the  characters  of  the  one  are  more 
lasting  than  those  of  the  other,  innumerable  cases  must  pre- 
sent themselves,  in  which  we  cannot  determine  whether  a 
given  animal  be  what  we  call  a  species  or  a  variety.  Yet 
eager  debates  are  continually  carried  on  by  naturalists  whe- 
ther certain  animals  are  to  be  regarded  as  species,  or  as 
varieties.  Thus,  the  Common  Wolf  of  America  differs  some- 
what in  aspect  from  the  Wolf  of  Europe,  and  some  natu- 
ralists hold  that  he  is  specifically  distinct ;  but  all  that  we 
can  truly  say  is,  that  the  wolf  of  Europe  and  the  wolf  of 
America  present  varieties  of  that  form  which  we  term  Wolf, 
and  our  knowledge  of  the  animal  conducts  us  no  further. 
The  Domesticated  Dogs  present  greater  varieties  of  form 
and  characters  than  many  animals  which  are  considered 
to  be  specifically  different.  The  question  has  arisen  whe- 
ther these  dogs  are  of  different  species  or  of  one  species? 
The  resolution  of  the  question,  it  is  manifest,  depends  mainly 
upon  the  meaning  which  we  assign  to  our  own  terms.  If  we 
are  to  include,  under  the  same  specific  form,  the  long  muzzle 
and  slender  limbs  of  the  Greyhound,  and  the  short  muzzle 
and  stout  limbs  of  the  Bull-dog,  then  the  Greyhound  and  the 
Bull-dog  are  of  one  species  ;  if  we  hold  that  the  elongated 
muzzle  and  slender  limbs  of  the  one  constitute  a  specific  dis- 
tinction, then  the  Greyhound  and  the  Bull-dog  are  of  different 
species  according  to  our  definition. 

But  a  species,  it  has  been  supposed,  difl'ers  from  a  variety 
in  this,  that  while  animals  of  different  species  will  not  breed 


together  and  produce  a  fruitful  progeny,  varieties  of  the 
same  species  will  breed  together,  and  produce  a  fruitful  pro- 
geny. We  shall  be  able,  perhaps,  in  the  sequel,  to  shew  the 
fallacy  of  this  rule,  as  it  is  applied  to  many  animals.  It  is 
true  that  observation  shews  that  animals  which  diverge  from 
one  another  beyond  certain  limits  do  not  breed  together,  or, 
breeding  together,  do  not  produce  a  fruitful  progeny  ;  but  it 
is  equally  true,  that  animals  may  diverge  from  one  another 
beyond  the  limits  of  forms  which  we  call  specific,  and  yet 
breed  together.  Many  examples  of  this  occur  in  the  case  of 
the  gallinaceous  fowls  which  we  rear  in  poultry-yards,  and 
of  the  little  singing-birds  brought  up  in  cages  ;  and  in  the 
case  of  fishes,  experiments,  from  the  facility  of  fecundifying 
the  sperm,  are  easily  made  to  shew  that  not  only  animals 
so  divergent  as  species,  so  called,  but  as  genera,  may  be 
made  to  produce  a  fertile  progeny.  The  Sheep  and  the  Goat 
breed  together,  and  produce  a  progeny  as  fruitful  as  the  pa- 
rents ;  yet  the  sheep  and  the  goat  are  held  to  be  distinct  ge- 
nera. They  are  distinct  genera,  indeed,  according  to  our 
classification,  but  it  appears,  from  the  effect,  that  they  do 
not  diverge  so  much  from  one  another  in  those  characters 
which  enable  animals  to  breed  together,  as  to  be  incapable 
of  producing  a  common  race ;  and  so  it  will  be  seen,  in  the 
sequel,  it  is  with  other  animals  reduced  to  the  state  of  do- 
mestication. In  the  natural  state,  indeed,  unions  of  this, 
kind  rarely  take  place,  a  provision  having  been  apparently 
made  against  their  occurrence,  in  the  habits  and  instincts  of 
the  animals  themselves.  Species  in  the  state  of  nature  will 
very  rarely  intermix ;  and  even  varieties,  produced  by  arti- 
ficial breeding,  tend  to  preserve  themselves  unmixed,  when 
in  a  state  of  liberty.  If  a  flock  of  Merino  Sheep,  consisting 
of  rams  and  ewes,  be  mixed  together  in  the  same  field  with 
a  similar  flock  of  the  Heath  Sheep  of  Scotland,  there  will  be 
na  mixture  between  them,  the  females  of  each  selecting  the 
rams  of  its  own  variety.  In  Wales,  there  are  two  vai^eties 
of  Sheep,  one  of  which  inhabits  the  higher  mountains,  and 


the  other  a  lower  range ;  yet  these  sheep,  though  mingled  in 
the  commons  of  the  country  for  ages,  preserve  themselves 
distinct ;  and  even  the  female  of  the  Dog,  if  left  free  to 
choose  her  mate,  will  almost  always  make  the  selection  of 
one  of  her  own  kind,  a  greyhound  of  a  greyhound,  a  terrier 
of  a  terrier,  and  so  on.  Were  not  some  natural  provision  of 
this  kind  made,  we  might  expect  to  meet  innumerable  hy- 
bridal animals  in  the  state  of  nature ;  for  there  can  be  no 
reasonable  doubt  that  many  animals  which  we  call  distinct 
species,  are  capable  of  breeding  together,  and  producing  a 
fruitful  offspring. 


The  characters,  in  animals,  of  external  form,  may  be  com- 
municated, it  has  been  seen,  from  the  parents  to  the  young ; 
and  upon  the  constancy  of  this  effect  may  be  said  to  be 
founded  the  whole  principle  of  what  is  termed  Breeding, 
whether  pursued  to  the  degree  of  forming  distinct  varieties, 
or  of  merely  communicating  to  individuals  the  peculiar  cha- 
racters which  we  desire  them  to  possess.  If  we  would  form 
a  variety  or  breed,  we  must  select  the  animals  possessed  of 
the  characters  sought  for,  and,  by  breeding  from  the  progeny, 
endeavour  to  give  permanence  to  the  characters  acquired. 
If  we  wish  to  procure  individual  Horses  possessing  the  fa- 
culty of  speed,  we  unite  in  blood  those  which  possess,  in  the 
requisite  degree,  the  form  and  properties  which  we  seek  to 
reproduce  in  the  progeny  ;  if  we  design  to  procure  Horses 
having  the  strength  fitted  for  labour,  and  the  exertion  of  their 
powers  in  draught,  we  select  the  males  and  the  females  whose 
external  form  indicates  their  adaptation  to  the  uses  required ; 
if  we  are  to  propagate  animals  for  the  production  of  muscle 
and  fat,  we  choose  for  the  parents  those  whose  conformation 
indicates  the  faculty  of  soon  arriving  at  maturity,  and  readily 
assimilating  nourishment. 


Of  the  domesticated  animals,  that  whose  form  and  proper- 
ties have  excited  the  greatest  observation  and  interest,  is 
the  Horse,  whether  designed  for  the  exercise  of  the  powers 
of  speed,  for  the  bearing  of  burdens  and  drawing  of  loads,  or 
tor  any  other  use  to  which  he  is  adapted. 

In  the  Horse,  as  in  all  the  mammiferous  animals,  there  is 
the  long  chain  of  distinct  bones  termed  vertebrae,  which, 
bound  together  by  joints,  cartilage,  and  ligaments,  consti- 
tute the  vertebral  or  spinal  column.  Each  vertebra  has  a 
perforation  through  it,  so  that,  when  the  whole  vertebrae  are 
connected  together,  there  is  a  continued  canal  passing  along 
the  interior.  Besides  the  perforation  for  forming  this  canal, 
each  vertebra  has  exterior  projections,  two  lateral,  termed 
transverse  processes,  and  one  upwards,  termed  the  spinous 
process,  the  latter  forming  that  sharp  elevation  of  bones 
which  commences  with  the  withers,  and  extends  along  the 
back.  At  the  anterior  termination  of  the  spinal  column  is 
the  cranium,  connected  with  which  are -the  jaws  and  other 
bones  of  the  face.  The  bones  of  the  face  consist  of  two  divi- 
sions, the  first,  the  lower  jaw  in  one  large  piece  ;  the  second, 
the  upper  maxillary  bones,  and  various  other  pieces  united 
together.  In  the  sockets  of  the  bones  of  both  jaws  are  in- 
serted the  teeth.  These  consist  of  6  incisor  teeth  in  each 
jaw,  that  is,  of  12  incisors,  or,  as  they  are  called,  nippers  ;  of 
2  canine  teeth  or  tusks  in  each  jaw,  one  on  each  side  of  the 
incisors,  that  is,  of  4  canine  teeth  ;  and  next  to  these,  and 
at  a  distance  from  them,  of  6  molar  or  grinding  teeth  on  both 
sides  of  each  jaw,  that  is,  of  24  molar  teeth  in  all.  The  dis- 
position of  the  teeth,  the  organs  of  mastication,  may  be  re- 
presented thus : 

Molar.  Canine.          Incisor.          Canine.          Molar. 

Upper  jaw,         .6  1  6  1  6 

Under  jaw,         .6  1  6  1  6  ' 

in  all  40  teeth,  the  canine  teeth  being  generally  wanting  in 
the  female. 

The  cranium  is  composed  of  ten  distinct  pieces,  namely, 
the  two  frontal  bones  which  form  the  forehead,  the  temporal 



bones  which  lodge  the  internal  organs  of  hearing,  and  others. 
It  forms  a  cavity  separated  from  the  chambers  of  the  nose, 
the  eyes,  and  the  mouth.  Contained  within  it,  and  filling  it, 
is  the  Brain,  the  substance  of  which  passes  along  the  whole 
vertebral  column,  and  terminates  in  the  upper  vertebrae  of 
the  tail,  so  that  the  spinal  cord  is  a  prolongation  of  the 
nervous  matter  of  the  brain.  Proceeding  from  the  brain  and 
spinal  cord,  pass  to  the  organs  of  the  special  senses,  and  to 
every  sensible  part  of  the  body,  the  fine  cords  termed  Nerves, 
made  up  of  minute  tubular  filaments,  each  of  which  filaments 
is  finer  than  the  spider's  thread,  and  separately  invisible  to 
the  unassisted  eye. 

Next  to  the  cranium  are  the  cervical  vertebrae,  or  bones  of 
the  neck,  in  number  7  ;  next  to  these  are  the  dorsal  vertebrae, 
or  bones  of  the  back,  18  in  number  ;  next  are  the  lumbar  ver- 
tebrae, or  bones  of  the  loins,  5  or  6  in  number ;  next  is  the  sa- 
crum, so  called,  consisting  of  5  vertebrae  united  together,  and 
forming  a  single  piece ;  and  last  are  the  caudal  vertebras,  or 
bones  of  the  tail,  varying  in  number  from  13  to  18. 

In  the  following  figure,  1  is  the  lower  jaw,  2,  3,  4.  5,  are 

Fin.  1. 

the  oth 


the  other  bones  of  the  face,  b  b  the  cervical  vertebrae,  c  c  the 
dorsal  vertebrae,  d  d  the  lumbar  vertebrae,  e  e  the  sacral  ver- 
tebrae united  into  one  piece,  and  /  is  the  caudal  vertebrae  or 
bones  of  the  tail. 

With  the  vertebral  column  are  connected,  (1.)  the  ribs  Hi; 
(2.)  the  scapula  or  shoulder-blade^;  (3.)  the  bones  of  the  pel- 
vis p.  With  the  shoulder-blade  are  connected  the  fore-limbs, 
consisting,  (1.)  of  the  humerus  or  great  bone  of  the  shoulder 
k;  (2.)  the  fore-arm  I  m,  of  which  m  is  the  elbow  ;  (3.)  of  the 
bones  of  the  carpus  or  knee  n ;  (4.)  of  the  cannon-bone  or 
shank  o ;  and  (5.)  of  the  bones  of  the  pastern  and  foot  6. 
^Vith  the  pelvis,  p,  are  connected  the  bones  of  the  posterior 
limbs,  namely,  (1.)  the  femur  or  great  bone  of  the  thigh  q  ; 
(2.)  the  patella  or  stifle-bone  r  ;  (3.)  the  tibia  or  great. btfne 
of  the  leg  s  ;  (4.)  the  bones  of  the  hock  t ;  (5.)  the  cannon- 
bone  u ;  (6.)  the  bones  of  the  pastern  and  foot  6. 

It  is  from  the  dorsal  vertebrae,  or  bones  of  the  back,  that 
the  ribs  proceed,  forming  hoops  which  enclose  the  chest  and 
a  part  of  the  abdomen.  The  number  of  dorsal  vertebrae,  and, 
consequently,  of  ribs  on  each  side,  is  eighteen,  but  sometimes 
one,  or  even  two  more  are  developed.  The  ribs  are  mostly 
connected  by  cartilaginous  bands  with  the  scapula  or  breast- 
bone, of  which  the  upper  termination,  h,  appears  in  the  figure. 
The  breast-bone,  flat  and  of  a  spongy  consistence,  is  formed 
of  several  pieces  united  together,  and  is  sometimes  likened, 
from  its  form,  to  the  keel  of  a  ship.  The  chest  contains  the 
lungs  and  heart,  and  is  separated  by  a  muscular  partition 
from  the  abdomen,  which  contains  the  liver,  the  stomach, 
the  intestinal  canal,  the  kidneys,  and  other  organs. 

The  shoulder-blade  or  scapula  g,  of  which  there  is  one  on 
each  side  of  the  chest,  is  a  flat  triangular  bone,  with  its  nar- 
row end  pointing  obliquely  downwards.  It  is  attached  to 
the  chest  by  intervening  muscles,  and  strengthened  in  its 
position  by  other  powerful  muscles  with  which  it  is  con- 

Into  a  shallow  cavity  at  the  lower  part  of  this  bone,  is  in- 


serted  the  humerus  or  bone  of  the  shoulder.  The  humerus 
corresponds  with  the  bone  of  the  same  name  in  man,  that  is, 
with  the  portion  of  the  human  arm  which  is  between  the 
elbow  and  shoulder,  but  is  so  covered  with  muscles  in  the 
horse,  as  to  seem  to  form  a  part  of  the  trunk.  It  is  bent 
downwards  and  backwards  in  a  direction  opposite  to  that  of 
the  shoulder-blade,  by  which  disposition  the  parts  act  like  a 
spring  to  lessen  the  effects  of  those  terrible  shocks  which 
they  sustain,  when,  the  animal  being  raised  from  the  ground, 
his  weight  is  received  upon  his  fore  extremities.  The  head 
of  the  humerus  working  in  a  very  shallow  cavity  in  the  shoul- 
der-blade, the  bone  has  great  freedom  of  motion.  Its  lower 
extremity  is  fitted  by  a  hinge-like  joint  into  the  next  in 
order  of  the  bones  of  the  limb,  namely,  the  bone  of  the  fore- 

The  bone  of  the  fore-arm  corresponds  with  that  portion  of 
the  human  arm  which  is  between  the  elbow  and  the  wrist, 
but  the  fore-arm,  in  the  human  subject,  consists  of  two  bones, 
termed  respectively  radius  and  ulna.  In  the  horse,  there 
were  likewise  two  bones  in  the  young  state,  but  they  became 
joined  together ;  though  the  ulnar  portion,  as  in  the  figure, 
is  still  to  be  distinguished  projecting  behind  the  upper  part 
of  the  fore-arm,  and  receiving  the  name  elbow  in  the  horse 
as  in  man.  To  the  elbow  are  attached  powerful  muscles, 
for  extending  the  limb ;  and  its  size  is  one  of  the  points 
looked  to  by  jockeys,  as  indicative  of  what  is  termed  action. 

The  part  termed  the  knee  in  the  horse  corresponds  with 
the  wrist  of  the  human  arm,  and  is  for  this  reason  termed 
carpus.  It  is  composed  of  seven,  and  sometimes  of  eight, 
small  bones.  These  bones  serve  for  the  attachment  of 
muscles,  and  for  giving  flexibility  to  the  joint.  By  being 
many,  the  weight  is  divided  amongst  them,  and  thus  the  ha- 
zard of  fracture  or  dislocation  is  lessened.  They  are  sepa- 
rated by  elastic  cartilage,  bound  firmly  together  by  ligaments, 
and  kept  constantly  lubricated  by  a  secreted  liquid.  They 
form  an  exceedingly  strong  and  perfect  joint,  scarcely  subject 

to  rli&lru 



Fig.  2. 

to  dislocation  of  parts,  although,  being  the  farthest  removed 
from  both  extremities  of  the  limb,  they  are  at  the  part  of  it 
most  apt  to  be  injured. 

The  next  bones  form  what  is  termed  the  fore-leg  of  the 
horse,  which  consists  of  three  bones,  namely,  the  large  can- 
non-bone, or  shank,  with  the  two  smaller  splint-bones,  as 
they  are  called,  behind.  The  splint-bones  extend  downwards 
for  about  two-third  parts  of  the  length  of  the  principal  bone, 
with  which  they  are  united  by  a  ligamentous  matter.  This 
matter  tends  to  become  bone,  and  the  ossification  extending 
beyond  the  point  of  union  of  the  bones,  there  is  formed  the 
bony  tumour  so  common  in  the  horse,  Splint. 

The  last  of  the  series  of  bones  of  the 
limbs  are  those  of  the  pastern  and  foot. 
The  uppermost  of  these,  the  upper  pas- 
tern, is  jointed  to  the  lower  part  of  the 
cannon-bone.  Inferiorly  it  is  jointed  to 
the  lower  pastern,  or  coronet-bone  ;  and 
the  coronet-bone,  again,  is  articulated 
with  the  coffin-bone,  which  is  of  a  soft 
and  spongy  nature,  and  inclosed  within 
the  horny  covering  of  the  hoof.  These 
several  bones  of  the  limb  are  more  dis- 
tinctly represented  in  the  accompanying 
figure,  where  s  is  the  lower  part  of  the 
shoulder-blade,  h  the  humerus,  work- 
ing, by  its  rounded  head,  into  the  socket 
of  the  scapula,  /  the  fore-arm,  e  the 
elbow,  c  the  carpus  or  knee,  o  the  can- 
non-bone, or  shank,  with  its  splint-bones 
behind  /,  p  the  upper  pastern,  q  the 
lower  pastern,  or  coronet-bone,  r  the 
coffin-bone,  x  the  hoof. 

Besides  the  bones  enumerated,  there 
are  small  bones,  y,  v,  placed  behind  the 
others,  and  acting  somewhat  in  the  manner  of  pulleys. 



namely,  (1.)  the  sesamoid  bones,  g,  behind  the  joint  commonly 
termed  the  fetlock ;  and,  (2.)  the  navicular  bone,  #,  placed 
behind  the  common  Joint  of  the  coronet  and  coffin  bones. 
Over  these  small  bones  pass,  from  the  cannon-bone,  a  liga- 
ment and  tendons,  which,  being  connected  with  the  bones 
of  the  foot,  give  surpassing  elasticity  combined  with  strength, 

Fig.  3. 

to  these  parts.  In  the  an- 
nexed section  of  the  foot,  L 
is  the  ligament,  T  the  ten- 
dons, and  N  the  navicular 
bone.  The  hoof,  by  which 
the  foot  is  covered,  is  of  a 
substance  tough  and  elastic 
in  an  eminent  degree. 

Directing  attention  to  the 
hinder  part  of  the  vertebral 
column,  Fig.  1,  there  is  the 
pelvis,  p,  formed  by  two  large 
bones,  one  on  each  side  of 

the  spine,  and  firmly  united  to  it.  The  upper  part  of  each 
pelvic  bone,  termed  the  ilium,  forms  the  haunch-bone,  or 
hip-bone ;  and  into  a  cavity  in  the  lower  part  of  the  same 
bone  is  inserted  the  round  head  of  the  first  of  the  bones  of 
the  posterior  limbs,  namely,  the  femur,  q,  or  great  bone  of 
the  thigh.  The  femur  is  not  vertical,  like  the  thigh-bone  in 
man,  but  it  has  an  oblique  direction  from  behind  forward. 
It  corresponds  with  the  thigh-bone  in  man,  but  being  covered, 
in  the  horse,  with  the  thick  muscles  employed  in  moving  it, 
it  appears  to  be  a  part  of  the  trunk.  The  size  of  this  bone 
is  connected,  in  an  important  degree,  with  the  power  of  pro- 
gression of  the  animal ;  for,  being  extended  backwards  by 
the  action  of  the  muscles,  while  the  foot  remains  fixed,  it 
forces  the  body  forward. 

In  front  of  the  lower  extremity  of  the  femur  is  the  patella, 
or  stifle-bone,  r,  which  corresponds  with  the  pan  of  the  knee 
in  man.  It  is  one  of  the  class  of  bones  termed  sesamoid,  and 



is  designed  for  the  attachment,  and  passing  over  it,  of  ten- 
dons of  muscles. 

Jointed  to  the  lower  part  of  the  femur  is  the  tibia,  or  great 
bone  of  the  leg,  connected  with  which,  by  ligamentous  mat- 
ter, is  the  small  bone  termed  the  fibula.  These  two  bones 
form  properly  the  leg  of  the  horse ;  but  they  are,  in  popular 
language,  termed  the  thigh,  although  they  correspond,  not 
with  the  bone  of  the  thigh  in  the  human  species,  but  with  the 

Next  to  these  bones  are  those  of  the  hock,  which  corre- 
spond with  the  bones  of  the  ankle  or  instep  in  man ;  and  on 
one  of  them  the  tibia  works  by  means  of  a  hinge  joint.  They 
are  six  in  number,  and  one  of  them,  corresponding  with  the 

Fig.  4. 

great  bone  of  the  heel  in  man,  pro- 
jects backwards,  and  has  powerful 
muscles  for  extending  the  limb  in- 
serted into  its  extremity,  so  that  it 
acts  as  a  strong  lever  in  aiding  the 
forward  motion  of  the  animal ;  and, 
as  in  the  fore  extremities  we  look  to 
the  size  of  the  elbow  as  a  point  to 
be  regarded,  so,  in  the  posterior 
limbs,  we  look  to  the  size  of  the 
bone  of  the  heel. 

The  next  bones  below  correspond 
entirely  with  those  of  the  fore  extre- 
mity. They  are,  (1.)  the  cannon- 
bone,  or  shank,  with  the  two  splint- 
bones  attached ;  (2.)  the  pastern ; 
(3.)  the  coronet  bone  ;  (4.)  the  cof- 
fin bone,  with  the  sesamoid  and  na- 
vicular  bones,  as  in  the  fore  extre- 
mities. These  several  bones  of  the 
hinder  limb  are  represented  in  the 
annexed  figure,  where  pp  are  a  part 
of  one  of  the  pelvic  bones,  q  the  femur,  r  the  stifle  bone, 



/  the  leg,  formed  of  the  two  bones  tibia  and  fibula,  h  the 
hock,  whereof  c  is  the  bone  of  the  heel,  u  the  cannon-bone, 
with  its  splint  bones  g,f  the  upper  pastern,  d  the  lower  pas- 
tern, e  the  coffin  bone,  t  the  sesamoid  bones,  v  the  navicular 
bone,  x  the  hoof. 

This  chain  of  bones  being  extended,  performs  the  functions 
of  a  lever  in  moving  forward  the  body,  the  foot  fixed  to  the 
ground  being  the  fulcrum.  In  like  manner,  the  other  move- 
ments of  the  animal  are  performed  by  the  flexure  and  exten- 
sion of  the  bones,  thus — - 


It  is  by  means  of  the  muscular  forces  that  all  the  flexure 
of  the  bones,  and  movements  of  the  other  parts,  are  performed. 
The  muscles  constitute  the  greater  part  of  all  the  solid  matter 
of  the  body,  forming  the  flesh  of  the  animal,  and  entering 
into  the  composition  of  vessels,  ducts,  and  sacs  within  the 



body.  They  are  possessed  of  the  property  of  contracting 
under  the  influence  of  the  will,  and  often  independently  of 
it,  and,  by  this  contraction,  of  producing  motion  in  the  parts 
with  which  they  are  connected  ;  and  all  the  movements  of 
animals,  from  the  smallest  inflexion  of  the  voice  to  the  most 
extended  motions  of  the  limbs,  are  produced  by  the  contrac- 
tile power  of  these  organs.  When  they  are  to  give  motion 
to  bones,  the  fleshy  part  terminates  in  tendons,  which  are 
attached  like  ropes  or  cords  to  the  parts  to  be  moved.  The 
muscles  of  the  horse,  as  of  other  animals,  may  be  divided 
into  classes,  according  to  the  functions  which  they  have  to 
perform,  or  the  parts  of  the  body  to  which  they  pertain.* 

Fig.  6. 

The  muscles  belonging  to  the  head  are  numerous.     They 

The  figure  represents  the  principal  external  muscles,  namely, 
a         Dilatator  Naris  Lateralis. 
b    ^     Nasalis  Longus  Labii  Superioris. 
c  c        Levator  Labii  Superioris  Alaeque  Xasi. 


are  thin  on  the  external  parts  of  the  face  and  cranium,  so 
that  the  head  of  the  animal  may  be  said  to  be  nearly  of  the 

form  indicated  by  the  bones  which  compose  it. 

d  Orbicularis  Oris. 

e  Levator  Menti. 

/  Zygomaticus. 

fj  Depressor  Labii  Inferioris. 

h  Masseter. 

/  Orbicularis  Palpebrarum. 

k  Levator  Palpebrae  Superioris. 

I  Attollentes  et  Adducentes      I     Aurem 

/  Retrahentes  et  Abducentes  j 

M  Sterno-Maxillaris. 

n  Subscapulo-Hyoideus. 

o  Levator  Humeri. 

p  Trapezius. 

q  Complexus  Major. 

r  Splenius. 

s  and  e  e  Serratus  Magnus. 

t  Pectoralis  Magnus. 

u  Latissimus  Dorsi. 

(  Obliquus  Externus  Abdominis  (rolled  up  to  shew  the 
1         muscle  beneath). 

w  Obliquus  Internus  Abdominis. 

x  x  Gluteus  Externus. 

z  z  Gluteus  Maximus. 

b'  b'  Adductor  Tibialis. 

c'  c'  c'  Biceps  Abductor  Femoris. 

d'  d'  Vastus  Externus. 

/'  Antea-Spinatus. 

g'  Postea-Spinatus. 

A"  Teres  Minor. 

i'  Pectoralis  Parvus. 

k'  I'  m  Triceps  Extensor  Brachii. 

n  Flexor  Brachii. 

o'  Extensor  Metacarpi  Magnus. 

p  Extensor  Pedis. 

q  Flexor  Metacarpi  Externus. 

r  Extensor  Suffraginis. 

*,  *,    1  Lumbrici,  Anterior  et  Posterior. 

t'  Extensor  Pedis. 

u  Peroneus. 

v  Gastrocnemius  Externus. 

w'  Plantaris. 

x  Flexor  Pedis, 

?/'  Extensor  Metacarpi  Obliquus  vel  Parvus. 

y  Flexor  Pedis  Accessorius. 

EXTERNAL  FORM.      .  Ixxxi 

The  movements  of  the  external  ear  are  effected  by  a  set  of 
small  muscles  in  contact  with  them  on  the  upper  part  of  the 
head.  By  their  means  the  external  ear  is  erected,  depressed, 
or  rotated,  so  that  it  may  collect  the  sounds  as  they  come 
from  different  points  ;  and  the  spirit  and  temper  of  the  ani- 
mal may  frequently  be  judged  of  by  the  movements  of  these 

Various  muscles  are  employed  in  the  movement  of  the  eyes 
and  eyelids.  Some  of  them  are  within  the  sockets,  and  vary 
the  position  of  the  globe,  so  as  to  suit  the  relative  position 
of  external  objects. 

A  set  of  muscles  are  connected  with  the  movements  of 
the  jaws,  the  mouth,  and  the  nostrils.  These  cover  the 
maxillary  bones,  form  the  cheeks,  and,  stretching  to  a  circu- 
lar muscle  which  surrounds  the  mouth,  form  the  lips.  By 
means  of  these  muscles  the  jaws  are  moved  upon  one  another 
with  great  force,  the  nostrils  are  dilated  to  admit  the  air  into 
the  trachea,  and  the  varied  movements  of  the  lips  are  pro- 
duced. In  the  horse  of  high  breeding  the  nostrils  are  dilated, 
and  the  muzzle  is  delicate. 

Another  numerous  class  of  muscles,  which  are  internal, 
are  connected  with  the  varied  movements  of  the  tongue. 
They  produce  the  actions  connected  with  deglutition,  and  the 
inflexions  of  the  voice. 

The  bones  of  the  neck  are  enveloped  in  a  vast  mass  of 
muscles,  subservient  to  the  numerous  motions  of  the  head 
and  neck.  They  stretch  from  the  head  to  the  chest,  and  their 
expansion  therefore  indicates  power  of  the  fore-extremities/ 

The  chest  and  abdomen  are  covered  with  muscles,  several 
of  them  flat,  and  expanded  over  a  large  surface.  Some  lie 
beneath  the  shoulder-blade,  and  are  otherwise  connected  with 
it,  retaining  it  in  its  place,  and,  aided  by  several  muscles  of 
the  neck,  producing  those  changes  of  position  which  are  re- 
quired by  the  motions  of  the  fore -limbs.  Along  the  back 
extend  very  powerful  muscles,  producing  the  necessary  flexure 
of  the  back  ;  and  some  pass  along  the  inner  side  of  the  ver- 


tebral  column,  acting  upon  the  pelvis  and  thighs  ;  and  a 
set  extending  backwards  cause  the  motions  of  the  tail  and 
other  parts.  The  ribs  are  connected  together,  and  moved, 
by  numerous  muscles  passing  between  them  ;  and  the  abdo- 
men is  covered  by  flat  tendinous  muscles,  which  support 
the  contained  viscera.  The  diaphragm,  extending  within 
the  trunk  from  the  spine  to  the  breast-bone,  separates  the 
cavities  of  the  chest  and  abdomen.  The  hinder  extremities, 
which  are  the  main  instruments  of  progression,  are  moved 
by  muscles  of  prodigious  force,  connected  with  the  spine, 
sacrum,  and  bones,  of  the  pelvis,  giving  motion  to  the  thigh 
and  leg.  One  set  is  employed  in  bending  the  limb  under 
the  body,  another  in  extending  it  backwards.  The  muscles 
which  extend  downward  to  move  the  lower  part  of  the  limb, 
becpme  tendinous  as  they  descend,  until,  having  reached  the 
hock,  they  are  almost  wholly  tendinous.  By  this  mechanism 
the  various  pieces  of  the  limb  are  either  flexed  or  extended, 
without  loading  with  muscle  the  parts  to  be  pulled. 

The  fore  extremities  are  moved  by  a  series  of  muscles  at- 
tached to  the  shoulder-blade,  and  by  others,  extending  from 
the  higher  parts  of  the  limb  downwards.  These  last,  like 
the  muscles  of  the  hinder  extremity,  become  tendinous  down- 
wards, until,  at  and  below  the  knee,  they  are  almost  wholly 
tendinous.  They  are  distinguished  into  those  which  extend 
the  humerus  and  other  pieces  of  the  limb  forwards,  and 
those  which  bend  them  backwards.  The  parts  of  the  limb 
being  extended,  and  at  the  same  time  bent,  the  limbs  clear 
the  ground,  when  the  animal  is  propelled  forwards.  In 
order  that  they  may  be  raised  sufficiently  to  clear  the  ground, 
and  move  in  harmony  with  the  hinder  limbs,  there  must  be 
a  peculiar  adaptation  of  parts,  and  fitting  strength  of  muscle. 
The  due  performance  of  these  functions  constitutes  chiefly 
what  is  termed  action  in  the  horse,  and  we  judge  essentially 
of  his  safety  and  usefulness  from  the  form  and  movements 
of  his  fore-extremities. 

The  horse,  when  we  regard  him  in  profile,  is   compre- 



hended,  abstracting  from  the  neck  and  head,  within  a  square, 
the  limbs  occupying  somewhat  more  than  one-half. 

Fig.  7. 

Were  the  limbs  to  occupy  too  large  a  proportion  of  the 
square,  the  horse  might  be  full  of  mettle,  and  possessed  of 
great  power  of  speed,  but  he  would  be  wanting  in  the  power 
of  endurance  necessary  to  suit  him  for  useful  services.  A 
certain  depth  of  chest  and  body  is  required  in  every  horse 
from  which  we  look  for  continued  labour.  This  is  essential 
in  the  horse  of  heavy  draught,  the  hackney,  the  ordinary 
saddle-horse,  and  the  hunter.  A  horse  having  this  conforma- 
tion is  said  to  be  short-legged.  A  length  of  the  limbs  dis- 
proportionate to  the  depth  of  chest  and  trunk,  is  only  admis- 
sible in  the  case  of  the  race-horse,  in  which  the  property  of 
speed  is  alone  regarded.  In  an  ordinary  horse,  the  charac- 
ter of  too  long  legs  is  universally  regarded  as  a  defect.  Such 
a  horse,  whatever  spirit  he  may  possess,  is  easily  tired,  and, 
after  ^severe  exercise,  is  frequently  unable  to  take  his  food. 
He  is  subject  to  be  purged  often  by  a  draught  of  cold  water, 


or  a  quick  gallop.  Such  horses  are  familiarly  said  to  be 
light  in  the  carcass,  to  stand  high  in  the  legs,  and  so  forth. 

A  section  of  the  chest  of  the  horse,  at  its  commencement 
at  the  breast,  approaches  to  an  oval  form,  and,  proceeding 
from  the  first  rib  backwards,  it  enlarges  in  capacity  in  both 
directions.  This  progressive  enlargement  should  go  on  to 
behind  the  shoulders,  where  the  depth,  and  consequently  the 
girth,  should  be  relatively  large.  This  conformation  shews 
that  there  is  due  space  for  the  action  of  the  respiratory  or- 
gans ;  and,  it  may  be  said,  that  no  horse  will  be  found  pos- 
sessed of  health  and  endurance  without  a  sufficient  depth  of 

But  an  enlargement  of  the  chest  may  take  place  by  means 
of  increase  in  width  as  well  as  in  depth  When,  how- 
ever, the  chest  approaches  too  much  to  the  circular  at  the 
breast  and  shoulders,  it  deviates  from  the  form  adapted  to 
speed  and  action.  A  cart-horse  may  possess  a  circular 
breast,  and  this  class  of  horses  have  always  more  or  less  of 
this  character ;  but  we  desire  to  see  the  chest  deep  as  well 
as  broad.  If  the  breast  be  very  wide,  the  fore-limbs  will  be 
placed  far  asunder.  But  this  is  a  disposition  of  parts  which, 
though  fitted  for  physical  force,  is  not  so  for  speed,  and  the 
power  of  active  motion.  Independently  of  the  too  great 
weight  before  the  limbs,  which  renders  the  horse  too  heavy 
before,  the  further  evil  results,  that  a  straddling  motion  is 
communicated  to  the  animal  in  the  gallop,  which  is  alto- 
gether unfavourable  to  the  exeVcise  of  this  movement.  The 
fore-limbs,  therefore,  must  not  be  too  far  asunder,  by  the  ex- 
tension of  the  chest  in  width  at  the  breast.  In  other  quad- 
rupeds possessed  of  great  powers  of  speed,  we  invariably 
find  that  the  fore-limbs  are  somewhat  close  together,  as  in 
the  case  of  the  greyhound  as  compared  with  the  mastiff 
amongst  dogs,  and  in  the  case  of  the  deer  as  compared 
with  the  sheep  amongst  ruminating  animals  ;  but  yet  a 
certain  lateral  expansion  of  chest  is  connected  with  physi- 


cal  strength,  health,  and  the  property  of  readily  assimilating 
nourishment.  In  the  case  of  the  horse  employed  entirely  in 
slow  labour,  the  possession  of  a  round  wide  breast  is  not  only 
of  no  detriment,  but  it  is  a  property  to  be  desired.  A  cer- 
tain width  of  breast  is  desirable,  but  in  a  less  degree,  in 
the  hackney  and  common  saddle-horse,  in  which  the  power 
of  speed  is  held  to  be  secondary  to  other  properties.  In 
the  hunter  it  should  exist  to  a  medium  extent,  and  it  is 
only  in  the  race-horse  that  we  can  afford  to  regard  it  as 
a  secondary  property ;  yet  even  in  the  race-horse,  although 
too  great  a  width  of  breast  is  to  be  deprecated  as  utterly 
imsuited  to  his  destination,  we  still  desire  to  see  the  chest 
expand  gradually  to  behind  the  shoulders,  so  that  its  capa- 
city shall  be  sufficient  for  the  action  of  the  respiratory  organs. 

The  ribs,  rising  from  the  vertebrae  of  the  back,  increase  in 
length  until  the  ninth,  and  in  curvature  to  the  last,  so  that 
the  body  gradually  passes  from  the  elliptical  form,  and  be- 
comes nearly  circular.  The  ribs  should  possess  the  proper 
degree  of  curvature,  so  that  the  sides  shall  not  be  flat,  and 
the  body  narrow.  A  horse  having  the  body  narrow  is  said  to 
be  flat- sided,  and  has  frequently  the  belly  pendent,  because  the 
abdominal  viscera  have  not  sufficient  space  laterally.  Such 
a  horse  never  possesses  endurance,  and  rarely  good  action. 

The  head  of  the  horse  should  be  symmetrical,  and  rather 
small  than  large,  a  large  head  not  conducing  to  any  pur- 
poses of  active  motion,  and  frequently  indicating  sluggish- 
ness of  temper,  and  coarseness  in  other  parts.  Yet  the 
mere  difference  in  the  size  of  heads  of  horses  of  the  same 
race  is  not  a  very  important  character,  and,  other  points 
being  good,  may  be  disregarded.  A  certain  breadth  and 
height  of  forehead,  however,  indicates  the  horse  of  high 
breeding,  and  may  be  supposed  to  be  connected  with  greater 
sagacity  and  spirit. 

The  ears  should  be  free  from  coarseness.  The  spirit  of 
the  animal  is  judged  of  by  these  parts  being  pointed,  and 


frequently  erect.  He  manifests  momentary  irritation,  or  ha- 
bitual ill  temper,  by  retracting  them  firmly  backwards ;  but 
often  this  is  done  in  play,  or  when  he  is  tickled  in  the  skin. 
The  ears  of  certain  horses  hang  habitually  down,  as  if  the 
muscles  wanted  power  to  sustain  them.  Such  horses  are 
termed  "lob-eared."  They  are  sometimes  good  and  endur- 
ing ;  but,  for  the  most  part,  the  character  indicates  a  slug- 
gish temperament. 

The  eyelids  should  be  thin,  and  the  eyes  large,  and  some- 
what prominent,  as  expressive  of  vigour  and  spirit.  When 
the  eyes  are  sunk  in  the  sockets,  and  the  surrounding  muscles 
are  thick,  the  horse  is  said  to  be  "  pig-eyed."  When  the 
horse  is  apt  to  shew  much  of  the  white  of  the  eye,  his  tem- 
per may  be  suspected;  though,  in  some  cases,  the  white  or 
sclerotic  portion  is  large  in  proportion  to  the  coloured  or 
corneous,  and  then  its  habitual  appearance  does  not  neces- 
sarily indicate  badness  of  temper. 

The  profile  of  the  face  should  be  nearly  straight.  When 
it  is  concave,  there  is  often  a  defect  of  temper ;  when  con- 
vex, the  animal  is  usually  good-tempered,  and  may  possess 
useful  properties.  But  yet  the  latter  conformation  is  not  of 
itself  to  be  desired.  A  horse  possessing  it  is  familiarly  said 
to  be  "  Roman-nosed."  Many  excellent  horses  possess  this 
character,  which  is,  therefore,  to  be  regarded  as  trivial,  when 
the  other  points  are  good. 

The  nostrils  should  be  expansive,  and  not  thick  and  nar- 
row. The  horse  breathes  through  the  nostrils,  and  the  power 
of  expanding  these  cavities  is  connected  with  his  power  of 
filling  the  lungs  with  air,  and,  consequently,  with  the  pro- 
perty of  speed.  All  horses  having  the  power  of  rapid  motion 
have  expanded  nostrils ;  and  there  is,  perhaps,  no  example 
of  narrow  nostrils  in  combination  with  the  property  of  rapid 
progression.  The  lips  should  be  thin,  and  the  mouth  exter- 
nally of  some  depth,  characters  which  render  the  horse  sen- 
sible to  the  guidance  of  the  rein ;  whereas  thick,  short,  and 


arse  lips,  indicate  a  dulness  of  feeling  in  the  parts,  and 
are  only  tolerable  in  the  horse  employed  in  labour. 

The  muscles  which  cover  the  face  should  be  distinctly 
marked,  and  not  loaded  with  integument  and  fat :  The  su- 
perficial bloodvessels  should  be  distinct,  and  somewhat  pro- 

The  windpipe  should  be  prominent  and  large.  The  bones 
of  the  lower  jaw  should  be  thin,  and  the  branches  between 
which  the  windpipe  passes  should  be  sufficiently  wide ;  for, 
otherwise,  the  horse  will  be  incommoded  when  reined  up, 
and  will  be  apt,  accordingly,  to  bore  upon  the  hand. 

The  neck  should  be  of  medium  symmetrical  length.  A 
too  great  length  of  neck  unnecessarily  loads  the  fore-extre- 
mities, while  a  too  short  one  renders  the  horse  unapt  to  the 
guidance  of  the  rein,  incapable  of  easy  flexure  of  the  body, 
ungraceful,  slow,  and  often  unsafe.  All  horses  possessed  of 
much  speed  have  the  neck  somewhat  long ;  and,  comparing 
the  two  kinds  of  conformation,  it  is  better  that  the  neck 
shall  approach  to  the  extreme  of  length  than  of  shortness. 

The  bones  of  the  neck  are  covered  by  powerful  muscles 
connected  with  the  motions  of  the  head  and  fore-arm.  Pro- 
ceeding from  the  head,  the  muscles  should  progressively  in- 
crease in  volume  to  the  breast,  where  a  want  of  muscular  ex- 
pansion indicates  a  want  of  action.  The  upper  part  of  the 
neck,  formed  of  the  splenius  and  other  muscles,  frequently 
termed  the  crest,  should  be  sufficiently,  but  not  excessively, 
developed.  Considerable  elevation  of  the  crest  is  connected 
with  high  and  powerful  action ;  but  its  excessive  expansion 
has  relation  to  vigour  of  the  fore  extremities  rather  than  to 
speed,  and  hence,  in  the  race-horse,  the  crest  is  compara- 
tively thin.  But  the  character  is  not  inconsistent  with  the 
power  of  rapid  motion.  The  Flying  Childers,  one  of  the 
fleetest  horses  that  ever  was  upon  the  English  turf,  had  the 
crest  remarkably  large. 

The  neck  should  be  somewhat  arched  or  convex,  a  charac- 


ter  depending,  in  part,  upon  the  obliquity  of  the  shoulder ; 
but  when  mere  speed  is  regarded,  the  neck  may  be  straight, 
or  even  concave  above.  The  latter  conformation  forms  what 
is  termed  the  "  ewe-neck."  It  renders  the  horse  unapt  to 
the  guidance  of  the  rein,  uneasy  to  the  rider,  and  unsafe ; 
but  may  exist  in  the  class  of  horses  in  which  speed  alone  is 
sought  for.  Many  excellent  race-horses  have  exhibited  this 
conformation,  which  is  that  likewise  of  the  deer  and  other 
swift-footed  ruminants. 

The  back  consists  of  the  dorsal  and  lumbar  vertebrae,  with 
the  powerful  muscles  covering  the  parts.  It  commences 
with  the  elevated  ridge  formed  by  the  spinous  processes  of 
the  first  dorsal  vertebrae,  termed  withers,  and  familiarly 
known  as  the  part  between  the  pommel  of  the  saddle  and  the 
termination  of  the  mane.  Elevation  of  withers  is  connected 
with  the  vigorous  movement  of  the  fore-extremities,  and  is, 
consequently,  indicative  of  action.  All  jockeys  look  to  the 
height  of  the  shoulder,  which  is  indicated  by  the  elevation 
of  the  withers,  as  a  point  connected  with  usefulness  and 
safety  in  the  saddle-horse  ;  and  dealers,  accordingly,  usually 
seek  to  exaggerate  the  height  of  the  horse  before,  by  placing 
him,  when  he  is  to  be  examined,  with  his  fore-feet  on  the 
higher  ground.  Great  elevation  of  the  withers,  however,  is 
more  connected  with  good  action  than  extreme  speed ;  and 
in  the  race-horse  it  is  regarded  as  a  secondary  character. 
A  great  proportion  of  the  horses  distinguished  on  the  turf 
have  the  withers  of  moderate  height.  In  Eclipse,  whose 
form  has  been  minutely  scrutinized,  the  withers  were  very 
low  ;  and  the  same  conformation  is  observed  in  other  species 
of  animals  fitted  for  great  speed.  But  although  the  power 
of  speed  is  connected  with  another  class  of  properties  than 
elevation  of  the  withers,  yet  the  latter  character  is  never  to 
be  disregarded,  when  we  look  to  utility  and  safety  in  the 
saddle-horse.  It  gives  not  only  grace  to  the  animal,  but  a 
sense  of  ease  and  security  to  the  rider.  When  the  withers 


are  low,  the  saddle  bears  upon  the  shoulder,  and  the  rider 
neither  feels  nor  possesses  that  security  which  the  elevated 
shoulder  gives.  The  horse  of  this  form,  however  suited  for 
direct  progression,  is  rarely  well  adapted  to  quick  turnings, 
and  the  other  movements  which  we  seek  to  communicate  by 
education.  The  want  of  space  for  the  attachment  of  the 
muscles  of  the  neck,  if  compensated  at  all,  must  be  so  by  an 
enlargement  of  the  muscles  themselves,  which  renders  the 
shoulders  thick,  and  what  is  called  "  cloddy."  Cloddy  shoul- 
ders, indeed,  are  not  inconsistent  with  good  properties  in  the 
saddle-horse ;  but  the  far  greater  presumption  is,  that  they 
will  have  the  effect  of  rendering  him  heavy  before,  unplea- 
sant to  the  rider,  and  unsafe.  They  are  not  even  absolutely 
inconsistent  with  great  speed,  though  their  existence  is  ad- 
verse to  the  expectation  of  this  character.  In  Eclipse,  the 
shoulder  was  cloddy  in  a  remarkable  degree,  but  this  proves 
only  that  one  defect  may  be  counterbalanced  by  great  excel- 
lencies, as  was  the  case  in  this  remarkable  horse,  whose  obli- 
quity of  shoulder,  and  vast  expansion  of  the  posterior  extre- 
mities, were  sufficient  to  produce  his  surpassing  powers  of 
progression,  without  our  being  allowed  to  infer  that  those 
powers  would  have  been  less,  had  the  spinous  processes  been 
increased,  and  the  muscular  substance  attached  to  them  di- 

The  dorsal  and  lumbar  vertebrae,  with  the  muscles  cover- 
ing them,  form  the  back.  Debates  have  sometimes  taken 
place  regarding  the  proper  length  of  this  part.  But  the  pro- 
portion of  this,  as  of  other  parts  of  the  frame,  is  not  subject 
to  any  definite  rule.  A  short  back,  like  a  short  rod,  is  more 
strong  than  one  of  the  same  substance  which  is  extended  in 
length.  A  short  back,  in  the  horse,  indicates  strength  and 
capability  of  bearing  the  burden  of  the  rider.  Further,  it 
indicates  hardiness  of  constitution,  the  power  of  supporting 
fatigue,  and  the  property  of  subsisting  on  a  small  quantity 
of  food.  When  we  seek,  then,  for  a  horse,  as  the  road-horse 


and  hackney,  in  which  strength  and  endurance  of  long  fatigue 
are  regarded  as  essential  properties,  a  short  back,  like  short 
limbs,  indicates  that  the  animal  is  suited  to  our  purposes. 
But  a  horse  whose  back  is  short,  is  less  easy  in  its  paces, 
shorter  in  its  step,  and  slower  in  its  motions,  than  one  which 
has  a  longer  back  ;  and  when  we  regard  speed,  a  certain 
length  of  back  is  necessary  to  suit  the  longer  stride  which 
rapid  progression  demands.  The  property  of  shortness  of 
back,  therefore,  is  disregarded  in  the  race-horse  ;  but  we 
may  say  that  a  medium  length  of  back,  tending  to  the  short, 
is  to  be  desired  in  horses  where  a  reasonable  degree  of  speed 
is  to  be  combined  with  strength,  that  is,  in  all  ordinary 
horses  employed  for  the  saddle,  not  excepting  the  hunter, 
and  even,  though  in  a  less  degree,  in  the  horse  employed  in 
the  lighter  vehicles  in  harness.  In  a  horse  whose  back  is 
short,  the  last  of  the  ribs  is  brought  nearer  to  the  pelvis. 
Such  a  horse  is  said  to  be  "  well-ribbed  home,"  and  this 
point  is  looked  to  by  jockeys,  as  characteristic  of  hardiness 
and  good  constitution. 

The  back  of  the  horse  sometimes  declines  considerably 
from  the  withers,  forming  a  concavity  or  hollow.  This  form 
produces  easy  motion  of  the  rider,  but  it  is  not  consistent 
with  strength  and  the  best  position  of  the  parts  in  other  re- 
spects. Even  when  we  look  for  a  certain  length  of  back,  as 
in  the  horse  designed  for  rapid  motion,  we  should  see  that  it 
is  straight  as  an  indication  of  strength.  In  certain  cases, 
the  back  is  convex,  and  not  hollow.  A  horse  thus  formed  is 
said  to  be  "  roach-backed  ;"  but  when  this  conformation 
exists,  the  horse  is  uneasy  in  all  its  motions,  awkward  in  his 
paces,  slow,  and  unapt  to  turn,  and  bend  himself  to  the  move- 
ments which  we  seek  to  communicate  by  training. 

The  lumbar  portion  of  the  back  should  be  broad,  which  is 
the  result  of  the  lateral  extension  of  the  transverse  pro- 
cesses of  the  lumbar  vertebra?.  This  conformation  indicates, 
in  all  cases,  strength,  is  not  inconsistent  with  speed,  but  con- 


ducive  to  it,  and  therefore  is  to  be  desired  in  horses  of  every 
kind.  One  may  see  well  the  advantages  of  this  form  from 
the  coach-box  of  our  heavily-loaded  public  vehicles,  where 
animals  of  different  conformation  are  yoked  together.  While 
the  narrow-loined  horses  will  be  seen  to  be  suffering  from 
the  combined  effects  of  the  rapid  pace  and  heavy  load,  the 
broad-loined  horses  will  be  observed  performing  their  task 
with  comparative  facility. 

With  the  sacrum  commences  the  part  of  the  horse  termed 
the  haunch  or  quarter,  which  extends  from  the  sacrum  back- 
wards to  the  tail,  and  downwards  so  far  as  the  larger  muscles 
extend.  The  upper  line  of  the  haunch  formed  by  the  sacrum, 
and  part  of  the  caudal  vertebrae,  is  usually  termed  the  croup. 
The  croup  has  a  natural  convexity,  forming  a  kind  of  arch. 
In  certain  horses,  the  croup  is  much  elevated.  But  this  con- 
formation is  not  to  be  desired :  it  is  a  usual  accompaniment 
of  the  hollow  back,  and  is  less  favourable  to  speed  than  if 
the  parts  were  extended  in  length  rather  than  in  curvature.- 
In  other  cases,  in  place  of  an  elevation,  the  croup  suddenly 
declines  to  the  tail.  This  conformation  is  ungraceful,  inju- 
rious to  the  breeding-mare  by  diminishing  the  size  of  the 
pelvis,  and  less  favourable  to  progression  than  a  horizontal 
extension  of  the  part.  In  the  highly-bred  horse,  the  croup 
is  so  gently  curved  as  to  appear  nearly  straight ;  and  this  is 
the  form  which  may  be  regarded  as  the  most  symmetrical 
and  perfect.  In  the  larger  horses  employed  for  labour,  the 
croup  is  never  so  straight  as  in  the  horses  of  superior  breed- 
ing ;  but  even  in  them,  it  is  desirable  to  see  an  approach  to 
the  more  perfect  conformation. 

The  main  indications  of  the  power  of  progression  in  the 
horse,  as  in  all  swift-footed  quadrupeds,  are  afforded  by  the 
posterior  extremities,  which  contain  the  bones,  whose  exten- 
sion backwards,  when  the  foot  is  placed  on  the  ground,  forces 
the  animal  forward.  We  look,  therefore,  as  an  essential 
character  in  horses  of  every  kind,  to  the  expansion  in  every 
direction  of  the  haunch  or  quarter,  understanding  by  these 


terms  the  bones  of  the  pelvis  and  femur,  together  with  the 
muscles  which  cover  or  are  attached  to  them. 

The  upper  or  iliac  portion  of  the  pelvis,  commonly  termed 
the  haunch-bone,  projects  more  or  less  outward.  To  this 
part  large  muscles  are  attached,  subservient  to  the  move- 
ments of  the  posterior  limbs.  The  haunch-bone  should, 
therefore,  be  relatively  large,  and  even  an  apparent  coarse- 
ness of  it  may  be  tolerated.  A  horse  in  which  the  projection 
is  so  great  as  to  appear  uri symmetrical,  is  said  to  be  "  ragged 
in  the  hips."  It  is  not,  however,  to  be  desired  that  the  part 
shall  be  ragged,  as  it  is  called,  but  simply  that  the  width  of 
the  haunch,  measured  over  the  iliac  protuberances  of  the 
pelvis,  shall  be  large,  as  indicating  the  lateral  expansion  of 
the  haunch. 

The  pelvis  and  femur  form  an  angle  with  one  another,  and 
by  the  forcible  extension  of  the  latter  backwards  by  the 
action  of  the  muscles,  the  main  spring  is  given  by  which  the 
body  of  the  animal  is  urged  forward.  Hence  will  appear  the 
advantage  of  an  increased  length  of  the  femur,  by  which  the 
means  are  afforded  of  giving  a  large  sweep  or  spring,  when 
it  is  extended  by  the  action  of  the  muscles.  Further,  the 
length  of  the  femur  is  indicated  externally  by  the  length  of 
the  haunch,  measured  from  the  haunch-bone  backwards  ;  and 
hence  it  is,  that  length  of  haunch  in  this  direction  is  charac- 
teristic of  the  power  of  progression  of  the  horse.  Further,, 
as  the  movements  of  the  posterior  limbs  must  be  performed 
by  muscles  of  great  power,  we  desire  that  the  muscles  of  the 
haunch  shall  be  of  sufficient  volume.  This,  too,  is  indicated 
to  the  eye  by  the  expansion  of  the  haunch  in  its  different 

In  the  English  race-horse,  the  character  of  a  large  quarter 
is  developed  in  a  greater  degree  than  in  any  other  known 
race  of  horses.  And  not  in  the  horse  only,  but  in  all  swift- 
footed  quadrupeds,  the  power  of  rapid  motion  has  an  inti- 
mate relation  with  the  expansion  of  the  posterior  extremity. 
In  the  greyhound,  which  is  the  fleetest  of  all  the  races  of 


dogs,  the  haunch  is  large  and  high,  as  compared  with  the 
shoulder.  The  same  character  is  seen  in  the  deer  and  ante- 
lope tribes  ;  and  yet  more  in  the  hare,  an  animal  whose 
swiftness  far  surpasses  that  of  the  horse,  the  greyhound,  or 
the  antelope,  when  the  relative  size  of  the  animals  is  taken 
into  account. 

Important  points  in  the  conformation  of  the  horse  are  the 
form  of  the  limbs,  and  their  disposition  with  relation  to  the 
parts  with  which  they  are  connected. 

The  humerus,  it  has  been  seen,  works  into  a  shallow  cavity 
in  the  scapula  ;  and,  moving  forward  on  this  point  as  a  pivot 
it  describes  an  arc  of  a  circle,  so  that  the  limb  is  raised  above 
the  ground.  To  admit  of  this  action  being  performed  with 
the  required  facility,  the  scapula  should  have  considerable 
obliquity,  rendering  the  shoulder  what  is  termed  oblique. 
Further,  the  humerus  should  be  relatively  short,  because  its 
function  being  to  move  in  a  circle,  the  same  arc  will  be  de- 
scribed by  a  smaller  radius  as  by  a  larger,  and  this  with  less 
displacement  of  the  parts.  Further,  when  the  humerus  is 
too  long,  the  breast  is  placed  too  far  in  front  of  the  fore- 
limbs,  and  thus  the  horse  is  rendered  heavy  before. 

The  next  bones  of  the  limb,  forming  the  bones  of  the  fore- 
arm, should  be  somewhat  long  relatively  to  the  cannon  bone 
below,  for  the  fore-arm  being  muscular,  while  the  parts  lower 
down  are  tendinous,  its  length  increases  the  volume,  and, 
consequently,  the  power  of  the  muscles  subservient  to  the 
movements  of  the  limb.  Further,  the  muscles  of  the  fore- 
arm should  be  well  developed  down  to  the  carpus  or  knee. 
The  elbow  or  ulnar  part  of  the  fore-arm  should  be  long, 
so  as  to  be  adapted  to  its  function  of  moving  the  arm,  which 
it  does  in  the  manner  of  a  lever.  A  good  size  of  the  elbow 
is,  accordingly,  regarded  by  jockeys  as  one  of  the  points  con- 
nected with  action  in  the  horse. 

The  bones  of  the  carpus  or  knee  should  be  sufficiently  large 
for  the  attachment  of  muscles,  so  that  the  knee  shall  appear 
broad  when  seen  from  the  front. 


The  cannon  bone  must  be  of  sufficient  strength,  but  its 
thickness  will  vary  with  race,  being  greater  in  the  breeds  of 
larger  horses  than  the  more  delicate  and  higher  bred,  whose 
bones  are  more  dense  than  those  of  horses  of  inferior  breeding. 
When  viewed  from  the  side,  the  limb  should  appear  compara- 
tively broad  in  any  kind  of  horses,  indicating  the  size  of  the 
sesamoid  bones  behind,  and  the  sufficiency  of  space  for  the 
tendons  and  ligaments  connected  with  the  pastern  and  foot. 

The  pastern,  formed  of  the  upper  and  lower  pastern  bones, 
should  be  more  oblique  and  long  in  proportion  as  the  animal 
is  destined  for  more  rapid  movements.  In  the  race-horse 
they  are  peculiarly  long  and  oblique,  affording  a  more  yield- 
ing spring  to  the  animal  when  at  speed.  But  a  medium 
length  and  inclination  only  is  suited  to  the  horse  in  which 
strength  is  to  be  combined  with  ordinary  powers  of  speed, 
as  in  the  saddle  -horse  and  lighter  carriage-horse.  When  the 
parts  are  too  short  and  upright,  the  animal  becomes  unsafe 
for  the  saddle,  and  unsuited  for  the  exercise  of  even  common 
speed ;  and  it  is  only  in  the  horse  employed  in  slow  and 
heavy  labour  that  a  short  and  upright  pastern  is  an  admis- 
sible character. 

The  hoof  should  be  well  formed,  and  of  symmetrical  size. 
Its  colour  will  depend  upon  that  of  the  integument,  but  it  is 
better  that  it  be  dark  in  colour  than  light. 

On  the  suitable  conformation  of  the  shoulder  and  fore- 
limbs  depends  the  property  of  what  is  termed  action,  which 
consists  in  a  ready  elevation  and  flexure  of  the  fore  extremi- 
ties. This  property  is  less  regarded  in  the  race-horse,  in 
which  it  is  only  required  to  the  degree  that  the  horse  shall 
have  the  power  to  clear  the  level  surface  over  which  his 
powers  of  speed  are  exercised  ;  but  in  all  the  classes  of  horses 
which  undergo  continued  fatigue,  and  bear  the  burden  of  a 
rider,  good  action  is  an  essential  property. 

In  the  hinder  limbs,  which  are  designed  essentially  for 
progression,  is  the  femur,  which,  for  the  reasons  before 
given,  should  be  relatively  long.  The  tibia  or  leg  proper 



should,  for  the  same  reasons,  be  long  with  relation  to  the 
part  below  the  hock,  and  the  muscles  which  cover  it  should 
be  well  developed.  The  patella  or  stifle  bone  should  be  of 
good  size.  The  hock  should  be  large,  indicating  an  adequate 
extent  of  surface  in  the  bones  which  compose  it.  When  seen 
from  the  side  it  should  appear  to  the  eye  broad,  and  the  os 
calcis,  or  great  bone  of  the  heel,  should  be  long,  to  adapt  it 
to  its  function  of  a  lever  in  extending  the  limb  backwards. 
To  the  cannon  bone,  the  pastern,  and  the  foot,  the  same  re- 
marks apply  as  to  those  of  the  fore-extremities. 

The  aspect  of  horses  must  greatly  vary  with  size,  and  the 
conformation  acquired  either  naturally  or  by  artificial  breed- 
ing. Whatever  be  the  race,  those  characters  should  be  cul- 
tivated in  the  individual  which  adapt  them  to  the  uses  to 
which  they  are  especially  destined,  whether  for  the  course, 
the  chase,  the  ordinary  uses  of  the  horseman,  or  the  duties 
of  heavier  labour.  The  following  figures  will  exhibit  the 
contrast  between  animals  destined  for  different  uses,  yet  each 
exhibiting  the  characters  proper  to  its  own  condition.  The 
one  is  an  outline  of  a  race-horse,  Charles  XII.,  the  other  of 
a  dray-horse  of  the  old  English  Black  Breed  : — 

Fig.  8. 


Fig.  9. 

In  the  case  of  the  Horse,  we  have  considered  the  proper- 
ties of  external  form,  which  we  seek  to  communicate  to  an 
animal  whose  physical  powers  we  call  forth  for  particular 
ends.  But  other  kinds  of  animals  are  destined  for  other 
uses,  and  each  has  a  conformation  proper  to  itself,  and  in 
them  we  endeavour  to  produce  a  class  of  characters  depen- 
dent upon  their  own  nature  and  our  purposes  in  rearing 
them.  Amongst  these  animals,  the  Ox,  the  Sheep,  the  Goat, 
and  the  Hog,  are  domesticated  chiefly  for  the  purpose  of  pro- 
ducing human  food  and  clothing,  but,  above  all,  for  the  pro- 
duction of  food,  either  the  flesh  of  the  animals  themselves, 
or  the  milk  of  the  females,  produced  for  the  nourishment  of 
their  young.  The  characters  indicative  of  the  faculties  best 
suited  for  these  different  purposes  differ  in  the  different 
species.  But  there  are  certain  characters  common  to  all  of 
them,  which  indicate  in  a  greater  or  less  degree  their  adap- 
tation to  the  production  of  flesh  or  muscle,  which,  along  with 
the  fatty  secretion,  constitutes  food. 

The  muscular  tissue  or  flesh  consists  of  a  series  of  fine 
tubular  fibres  or  threads.     These  fibres  united  form  fasciculi. 


or  bundles  of  fibres,  which,  again,  being  united,  form  larger 
fasciculi.  These  fibres  and  fasciculi  are  separated  by  a  fine 
intervening  tissue  of  cells,  in  which  is  secreted  the  oily  sub- 
stance, fat.  This  latter  substance  is  intermingled  with  the 
muscular  or  fleshy  tissue,  and  is  found  in  large  quantity  be- 
neath the  skin  and  in  the  muscular  tissue  connected  with  it, 
and  surrounds,  or  is  intermingled  with,  the  various  viscera 
within  the  body,  as  the  intestines,  the  heart,  the  kidneys,  and 
other  organs.  It  affords  nourishment  to  the  system,  is  ex- 
hausted when  the  animal  is  deprived  of  food,  and  increases 
largely  in  quantity  when  abundant  sustenance  is  supplied. 

The  muscular  tissue  or  flesh  grows  with  the  animal,  and 
is  essential  to  its  existence  and  power  of  motion.  When  it 
arrives  at  its  full  growth,  little  further  addition  can  be  made 
to  it  by  means  of  food.  But  it  is  otherwise  with  the  fatty 
matter  which  surrounds  and  is  intermingled  with  its  sub- 
stance. When  the  food  which  the  animal  assimilates  by  the 
action  of  its  organs  is  no  longer  needed  to  form  muscle  and 
bone,  it  produces  fat ;  the  muscles  become  enlarged,  and  the 
integuments  extended,  and  the  accumulation  of  fat  takes  place 
in  great  quantity  within  the  trunk.  By  merely  feeding  an  ani- 
mal, we  may  not  have  the  power  of  increasing  its  muscular 
substance,  but  we  have  a  great  power  over  the  increase  of  the 
fatty  matter,  which,  along  with  the  fleshy  fibre,  forms  food. 

Now,  a  certain  set  of  characters  indicates  in  all  the  ani- 
mals enumerated  the  property  of  arriving  speedily  at  ma- 
turity of  bone  and  muscle,  and  of  readily  secreting  fat.  As 
the  property  of  quickly  assimilating  nourishment  depends  on 
the  action  of  the  digestive  and  respiratory  organs,  so  it  has 
been  inferred  that  a  large  chest  for  containing  the  organs  of 
respiration,  and  a  capacious  trunk  for  containing  the  stomach 
and  other  viscera  employed  in  digestion,  are  connected  with 
the  property  of  easy  digestion  and  assimilation.  But  what- 
ever be  the  causes  assigned,  experience  shews  that,  in  every 
case  of  a  healthy  animal,  the  property  of  fattening  quickly 
is  combined  with  a  capacious  body.  Further,  as  an  indica- 
tion of  the  property  of  secreting  fat,  we  find  an  absence  of 



thickness  or  coarseness,  as  it  is  termed,  of  the  bones  of  the 
extremities,  as  of  the  head,  limbs,  and  caudal  vertebrse  or 
tail.  A  thick  and  large  head,  massy  limbs  below  the  hock 
and  knee,  and  a  thick  tail,  may  indicate  strength  and  large 
muscles  ;  but  they  do  not  manifest  that  peculiar  delicacy  of 
form  which  experience  shews  to  exist  in  an  animal  that  can 
be  fattened  with  facility. 

Besides  those  indications  of  a  tendency  to  fatten  readily, 
which  are  exhibited  by  the  conformation  of  the  animal,  there  is 
one  of  essential  importance  indicated  by  the  touch.  The  skin 
is  found  to  be  soft,  and,  as  it  were,  expansive.  This  property 
differs  from  mere  thinness  of  the  integuments,  which,  as  in- 
dicative of  want  of  hardiness,  would  be  regarded  as  a  defect. 
It  is  a  softness  combined  with  elasticity,  conveying  the  idea 
of  a  fine  membrane  spread  over  a  soft  cushion.  The  differ- 
ence between  the  mellow  feel,  as  it  has  been  termed,  of  an 
animal  which  fattens  readily,  and  the  hard  inexpansive  skin 
of  an  animal  which  does  not  possess  this  property,  is  readily 

These  characters, — the  broad  chest  and  expanded  trunk, 
the  fineness  of  the  bones  of  the  extremities,  and  the  soft  ex- 
pansive integuments, — have  been  found  indications  of  the 
property  of  secreting  the  fatty  tissue  in  all  the  animals  which 
we  domesticate.  They  extend  to  the  horse,  the  rabbit,  the 
domesticated  fowls,  and  even  to  the  dog,  nay,  it  is  believed, 
to  the  human  species.  In  the  most  numerous  kennel  of 
hounds,  we  should  have  little  difficulty  in  pointing  out,  by 
means  of  the  wide  chests,  the  round  bodies,  and  soft  skins, 
all  the  individuals  which  became  the  most  quickly  fattened 
by  the  food  consumed  by  them. 

The  Horse  may,  for  the  uses  for  which  we  design  him,  be 
too  much  loaded  with  muscle  and  fat.  This  can  never  be  to 
the  degree  of  being  defects  in  the  animals  which  we  rear  for 
the  production  of  these  substances.  The  greater  the  volume 
of  muscular  and  fatty  substance  which  such  an  animal  bears, 
and  the  larger  the  space  which  his  body  occupies  in  proportion 
to  his  limbs,  the  more  adapted  is  his  form  to  the  uses  to  which 



he  is  to  be  applied.  In  all  cases,  then,  of  animals  to  be  fat- 
tened, we  desire  that  the  trunk  shall  be  large  in  proportion 
to  the  limbs,  or,  in  other  words,  that  the  limbs  shall  be  short 
in  proportion  to  the  trunk, 

In  the  Horse,  we  cultivate  the  characters  of  form  which  in- 
dicate the  power  of  active  movements  of  the  body.  In  ani- 
mals which  we  design  to  rear  up  to  the  earliest  possible  ma- 
turity of  muscle  and  fatness,  we  desire  no  other  power  of 
active  motion  than  consists  with  the  means  of  procuring  their 
own  food ;  and  when  the  state  in  which  we  keep  them  is  per- 
fectly artificial,  so  that  food  is  supplied  to  them  in  unlimited 
quantity,  we  cultivate  characters  entirely  the  opposite  of 
those  which  indicate  activity. 

Of  the  animals  reared  in  this  manner  for  human  food,  the 
Ox  is  one  whose  form  has,  in  this  country,  been  brought  to 
great  perfection  with  relation  to  his  power  of  arriving  at 
early  maturity,  and  becoming  soon  fat. 

The  Ox  differs  essentially  from  the  Horse  in  his  internal 
conformation  and  exterior  form.  Being  of  the  class  of  Ru- 
minants, his  body  is  largely  extended  in  the  abdominal  re- 
gion, and  the  form  and  capacity  of  his  chest  are  modified  in 
a  corresponding  degree.  While  the  Horse  stands  within  a 
square,  of  which  his  body  occupies  about  one-half,  the  Ox 
stands  within  a  rectangle,  of  which  his  body  occupies  a  larger 
proportion  than  the  half,  as  in  the  following  figure,  which  is 
the  outline  of  a  Galloway  Heifer. 

Fig.  10. 


The  teeth  of  the  ox  consist  only  of  two  kinds,  namely,  the 
sharp-edged,  or  incisors,  which  perform  the  office  of  cutting 
the  substances  presented  to  them,  in  the  manner  of  shears 
or  chisels,  and  the  molar  teeth,  which  are  situated  farther 
back  in  the  jaw,  and  are  designed  for  grinding  or  bruising. 
In  the  ox,  there  are  8  incisors  in  the  lower  jaw,  and  none 
opposite  in  the  upper.  In  place  of  incisors  in  the  upper  jaw, 
there  is  a  kind  of  cartilaginous  pad,  against  which  the  incisor 
teeth  press  in  the  act  of  dividing  the  food ;  and  it  is  by  means 
of  the  incisors  and  this  pad,  that  the  ox  partly  cuts  and  partly 
tears  the  herbage  plants  on  the  ground.  He  has  8  incisors, 
then,  in  the  lower  jaw,  and  6  molars  in  the  upper  jaw,  and  6 
in  the  lower,  on  each  side,  in  all  32  teeth,  disposed  thus : 

Molar.          Canine.         Incisors.         Canine.          Molar. 
Upper  jaw,         .6  0  0  0  6 

Under  jaw,        .6  0  8  0  6 

The  Ox,  like  most  of  the  ruminating  tribes,  is  furnished 
with  horns,  which  are  the  weapons  of  defence  given  to  him. 
In  certain  cases,  under  the  influence  of  domestication,  the 
horns  disappear,  yet  even  then  the  animal  instinctively  strikes 
with  his  forehead,  which,  in  the  absence  of  horns,  is  strength- 
ened by  a  greater  expansion  of  the  frontal  bones.  In  other 
cases,  the  horns  become  short  and  lose  their  sharpness,  or 
even  assume  a  direction  which  unfits  them  for  inflicting 
wounds,  as  in  the  following  figure  of  a  Bull  of  the  Long- 
horned  Dishley  Breed. 

Fig.  11. 


The  Ox  possesses  7  cervical.  13  dorsal,  6  lumbar,  and  5 
sacral  vertebrae  united  into  one  piece,  with  a  varying  number 
of  vertebrae  of  the  tail. 

Proceeding  at  first  horizontally  from  the  spine,  the  ribs 
bend  downward  somewhat  vertically,  so  that  the  back  is 
broad.  The  ribs  are  very  broad,  and  as  they  proceed  back- 
ward, each  projects  more  outward  than  the  anterior  one,  so 
that  at  the  abdomen  the  trunk  is  very  large.  As  compared 
with  the  horse,  the  scapula  is  less  oblique,  and,  with  the 
humerus,  forms  a  more  upright  shoulder ;  the  vertebrae  of  the 
loins  and  back  are  of  greater  size,  the  transverse  processes 
are  larger  and  stronger,  the  sternum  is  broader,  presenting 
a  larger  surface  to  support  the  more  extended  chest  of  the 
animal,  and  for  the  attachment  exteriorly  of  that  mass,  partly 
muscular  and  partly  cartilaginous,  which  is  termed  the 
brisket,  and  which,  in  these  animals,  when  largely  fed,  be- 
comes sometimes  of  great  dimensions,  almost  reaching  to  the 
ground.  The  bones  of  the  limbs  are  analogous  to  those  of 
the  horse,  but  at  the  fetlock-joint  divide  into  two  sets,  so  that 
in  each  limb  there  are  two  pastern,  two  coronet,  and  two 
coffin  bones.  The  hoofs  are  thus  said  to  be  cleft,  and  each, 
division  has  its  own  defence  of  horn. 

The  muscular  system  of  the  ox  is  very  large,  covering  in 
great  mass  the  breast,  the  shoulder,  the  back,  the  haunch, 
the  sides.  The  blood-vessels  are  of  great  size,  the  quantity 
of  blood  is  large,  and  the  circulation,  as  compared  with  many 
other  quadrupeds,  slow.  The  integuments  consist  of  a  thick 
skin  covered  with  hair. 

As  the  natural  conformation  of  the  Ox  differs  greatly  from 
that  of  the  Horse,  so  there  is  an  equal  divergence  in  those 
characters  of  form,  which  we  endeavour  to  communicate  to 
him  for  the  purpose  of  suiting  him  to  our  purposes.  In  the 
horse  we  require  the  exertion  of  physical  force  for  the  carry- 
ing of  loads,  for  the  drawing  of  weights,  or  for  rapid  motion. 
These  purposes  may  be  sought  for  in  the  ox  intended  for 
labour ;  but  generally  our  purpose  in  rearing  the  ox  is  the 


production  of  human  food,  either  the  flesh  of  either  sex,  or 
the  milk  of  the  female  for  the  products  of  the  dairy. 

For  the  former  of  these  purposes,  namely,  the  production 
of  the  muscular  or  fatty  tissue,  we  require  in  the  Ox,  as  in  all 
the  other  animals  cultivated  for  the  same  productions,  that 
the  chest  shall  be  wide  and  deep,  and  the  trunk  capacious, 
that  the  body  shall  be  large  in  proportion  to  the  limbs,  or,  in 
other  words,  that  the  limbs  shall  be  short  with  relation  to 
the  bulk  of  the  body,  and  that  the  bones  shall  be  what  is 
called  fine,  as  indicated  by  the  delicacy  of  the  extremities. 

The  head  should  be  somewhat  small,  and  rather  elongated 
than  short  and  thick.  But  in  the  bull,  the  forehead  is  na- 
turally more  broad  than  in  the  female.  When  the  head  of 
the  bull  approaches  to  the  narrow  and  elongated  form  of  that 
of  the  female,  he  may  be  docile,  and  apt  to  fatten  readily, 
but  he  will  have  lost  too  much  of  his  masculine  character, 
and  may  give  birth  to  too  delicate  a  progeny.  Even  in  the 
refinement  of  breeding,  therefore,  we  should  desire  to  see  the 
bull  possess  so  much  of  the  masculine  characters  as  to  com- 
municate a  sufficient  degree  of  strength  and  hardihood  to  his 
descendants.  On  the  other  hand,  should  the  head  of  the 
female  approach  too  much  to  the  masculine  character  of  the 
bull,  we  shall  have  reason  to  infer  from  experience,  that  she 
will  be  deficient  in  the  faculty  of  yielding  milk.  The  chan- 
nel of  the  lower  jaw  should  be  wide,  and  the  eyes,  as  indica- 
tive of  health,  prominent  and  clear. 

The  bony  ridge  on  the  summit  of  the  head,  from  which  the 
horns  proceed,  should  be  somewhat  raised,  so  that  the  horns 
shall  appear  to  be  slightly  attached  to  the  head.  The  length 
and  size  of  the  horns  vary  with  temperament  and  race,  and 
in  certain  breeds  they  do  not  exist.  But,  cseteris  paribus,  it 
is  to  be  desired  that  the  horns  shall  be  delicate  rather  than 
coarse  and  thick  ;  great  thickness  and  coarseness  of  horn 
being  usually  connected  with  coarseness  of  the  cuticular 

The  neck,  in  the  natural  state,  must  be  of  such  length  that 


the  animal  can  reach  the  ground,  and  collect  his  food ;  but  if 
the  limbs  be  short,  so  will  the  neck  be  in  proportion  to  the 
size  of  the  trunk ;  and  hence  shortness  of  neck,  with  relation 
to  the  size  of  the  body,  is  one  of  the  points  of  character  re- 
garded in  the  Ox.  But  an  undue  shortness  of  neck,  like  all 
deviations  from  the  natural  form,  may  likewise  indicate  dimi- 
nution of  strength  and  hardiness.  By  refinement  in  breed- 
ing, and  by  giving  the  animal  his  food  from  the  birth  in  stalls 
and  mangers,  his  neck  may  become  so  short  as  to  render  him 
unable  to  reach  the  ground,  and  collect  his  natural  suste- 

A  capacious  trunk  being  connected  with  the  property  of 
fattening,  the  ribs  should  be  widely  arched,  rising  almost 
horizontally  from  the  spine,  and  then  bending  downwards 
with  a  sweep,  producing  a  wide  and  flat  back,  and  likewise 
round  sides,  as  far  as  the  natural  form  of  the  animal  will 
allow.  This  is  an  important  character  in  the  Ox,  in  which 
narrowness  of  back,  and  too  great  flatness  of  sides,  scarcely 
ever  consist  with  the  property  of  fattening  quickly.  In  the 
Horse,  we  have  seen,  this  conformation  indicates  weakness, 
and  in  a  no  less  degree  it  indicates,  in  the  Ox,  the  want  of 
that  vigour  which  is  connected  with  the  power  to  fatten.  In 
the  Horse  designed  for  active  motion,  we  required  that  the 
chest,  at  its  commencement,  should  not  be  too  wide,  so  as  to 
place  the  fore-limbs  too  far  asunder,  and  that  the  breast 
should  not  extend  too  much  in  front  of  the  fore-limbs,  so  as 
to  render  the  animal  heavy  before.  In  the  Ox,  none  of  these 
characters  can  exist  to  the  degree  of  being  injurious.  We 
require  that  the  breast  shall  be  wide  and  well  extended  for- 
ward, and  that  the  fore-limbs  shall  be  far  asunder. 

The  shoulders  should  be  broad  at  the  top,  and  well  covered 
with  muscle.  The  spines  of  the  back  and  loins  should  be  so 
enveloped  in  muscle  as  to  cause  the  back  to  appear  nearly 
straight  from  the  neck  backwards.  The  back  and  loins 
should  be  somewhat  long ;  for  although  a  short  and  compact 
body  indicates  greater  robustness  and  tendency  to  fatten,  yet 


length  of  body  increases  the  space  for  muscles,  and  conse- 
quently the  weight  of  the  animal.  Breeders,  therefore,  look 
to  length  of  trunk  as  connected  with  economical  value ;  yet 
if  this  character  be  not  combined  with  others  which  are  good, 
as  depth  and  roundness  of  trunk,  and  strength  and  breadth 
of  back  and  loins,  there  will  be  more  of  loss  by  the  dimi- 
nished tendency  to  fatten,  than  of  gain  by  the  larger  extent 
of  muscular  surface. 

The  size  of  the  haunch  of  the  ox  is  not  connected  with  the 
property  of  fattening ;  but  it  is  connected,  in  an  important 
degree,  with  the  weight  and  economical  value  of  the  animal. 
The  haunch  commences  with  the  iliac  portion  of  the  pelvis, 
or  haunch-bone,  commonly  called,  in  the  case  of  this  animal, 
the  hook-bone  or  huckle-bone.  These  protuberances  should 
appear  as  if  nearly  on  a  level  with  the  back,  and  they  should 
be  distant  from  one  another,  indicating  breadth  over  the 
loins.  The  upper  line  of  the  haunch  should  be  long  and 
straight  to  the  bending  downwards  of  the  tail.  The  femur  and 
tibia  should  be  long,  so  that  the  size  of  the  haunch  shall  be 
increased,  and  a  larger  space  afforded  for  muscular  substance. 
By  enlarging  the  haunch  in  all  its  directions,  the  weight  of 
the  animal  is  increased,  and  this  in  a  manner  which  does 
not,  as  in  the  case  of  extending  the  back  alone,  tend  to  pro- 
duce weakness. 

Corresponding  with  the  width  of  the  trunk,  the  fore  and 
hinder  limbs  respectively  will  be  far  apart ;  and  this,  accord- 
ingly, is  a  point  of  form  looked  to  by  breeders  as  indicative 
of  that  lateral  expansion  of  the  body,  which  is  sought  for  in 
the  Ox,  as  in  every  animal  to  be  fattened.  The  limbs,  it  has 
been  seen,  should  be  relatively  short ;  but  the  fore-arm  to  the 
knee  should  be  long  in  proportion  to  the  part  from  the  knee 
to  the  hoof;  and,  in  like  manner,  in  the  posterior  limbs,  the 
leg  to  the  hock  should  be  long  in  proportion  to  the  part  below 
the  hock.  This  character  is  desired  in  the  Ox,  1st,  because  the 
parts  above  the  knee  and  hock,  respectively,  contain  muscle, 
while  those  below  consist  almost  entirely  of  tendon ; 


because  the  character  indicates  that  delicacy  of  the  extremi- 
ties which  experience  shews  to  consist  with  the  property  of 
fattening  quickly. 

The  Ox,  when  viewed  in  profile,  should  exhibit  a  square 
and  massive  form,  filling  the  greater  part  of  the  rectangle  in 
which  he  is  contained.  When  viewed  from  behind,  he  should 
present  the  same  square  and  massive  aspect ;  and  the  muscles 
on  the  inner  side  of  the  tibia,  forming  what  is  technically 
termed  the  twist,  should  be  largely  developed.  The  large 
flat  muscles  which  surround  the  abdomen  should  be  of  suffi- 
cient strength  to  keep  the  belly  from  hanging.  Generally, 
the  muscular  parts  should  appear  to  pass  without  abruptness 
from  the  one  to  the  other.  Thus,  the  muscles  of  the  neck 
should  gradually  expand  into  those  of  the  breast,  and  these 
again  into  the  shoulders,  while  the  muscles  of  the  shoulders 
should  pass  into  those  behind,  so  as  to  leave  littla  hollow- 
ness  ;  and  the  flanks  before  the  stifle-bone  should  be  well 
filled  up.* 

*  The  following  are  the  popular  characters  usually  given  as  indicative  of 
the  property  of  fattening,  and  the  suitable  form,  in  the  Ox ;  from  which  it  will 
be  seen,  that  the  results  of  observation  and  experience  accord  with  those  which 
may  be  derived  from  an  examination  of  the  functions  and  structure  of  the 

1.  The  head  shall  be  fine,  somewhat  long,  and  diminishing  to  the  muzzle, 
which  shall  be  thin. 

2.  The  horns  shall  be  fine,  and  placed  on  the  summit  of  the  head ;  the  eyes 
shall  be  prominent  and  clear. 

3.  The  neck  shall  be  free  from  coarseness,  large  where  it  joins  the  shoulder 
and  breast,  and  diminishing  to  the  head. 

4.  The  breast  shall  be  wide,  and  project  well  in  front  of  the  fore-limbs. 

5.  The  shoulder  shall  be  broad,  but  join  without  abruptness  to  the  neck  be- 
fore, and  to  the  chine  behind. 

6.  The  back  and  loins  shall  be  straight,  wide,  and  flat. 

7.  The  girth  behind  the  shoulders  shall  be  large,  and  the  ribs  well  arched. 

8.  The  hook-bones  shall  be  far  apart  and  nearly  on  a  level  with  the  back- 
bone ;  and  from  the  hook -bone  to  the  bending  down  of  the  tail,  the  quarter 
shall  be  long,  broad,  and  straight. 

9.  The  tail  shall  be  broad  at  the  upper  part,  and  small  and  progressively 
diminishing  towards  the  extremity. 

10.  The  legs  shall  be  short,  fleshy  to  the  knee  and  hock,  and  below  the  joints 
flat  and  thin,  and  the  hoofs  shall  be  small. 

11.  The  skin  shall  be  soft  to  the  touch,  the  belly  shall  not  hang  down,  there 
shall  be  little  hollo wness  behind  the  shoulders,  and  tho  flanks  shall  be  well 
filled  up. 


These  are  the  principal  characters  which  indicate,  in  the 
Ox,  the  property  of  adding  to  the  fatty  matter  of  the  body, 
and,  consequently,  of  becoming  sooner  fitted  for  human  food. 
Those  which  indicate,  in  the  female,  the  faculty  of  yielding 
much  milk,  differ  in  certain  respects.  The  extreme  broad- 
ness of  chest,  so  important  in  the  case  of  the  fattening  animal, 
is  not  required  in  the  case  of  the  milch  cow,  although  there 
is  nothing  inconsistent  between  this  conformation  and  the 
power  of  yielding  much  milk.  But  the  points  essential  to 
the  milch  cow  are  rather  connected  with  the  hinder  than  with 
the  anterior  extremities.  The  loins  should  be  wide,  and  the 
trunk  deep  from  the  loins  to  the  mammae.  This  form  exist- 
ing, the  more  the  cow  possesses  of  the  other  characters,  the 
better  is  she  fitted  to  combine  the  property  of  yielding  milk 
with  that  of  fattening.  In  a  cow  designed  for  breeding  ani- 
mals to  be  fattened,  the  milching  property  is  only  secondary, 
yet  a  cow  will  produce  the  better  calves  that  she  is  wide  and 
deep  in  the  lumbar  region.  A  purely  dairy  cow  should  have 
a  soft  skin,  clear  eyes,  and  a  narrow  and  elongated  head  ; 
the  udder  should  be  of  good  size,  but  have  sufficient  muscular 
power  to  prevent  its  being  flaccid.  The  superficial  veins 
near  the  udder  should  be  well  marked,  but  especially  the 
large  vein  which  runs  along  the  lower  side  of  the  belly  on 
each  side,  termed  the  subcutaneous  abdominal  vein.  This 
last  is  popularly  called  the  milk-vein,  although  it  is  not 
directly  connected  with  the  mammary  organs.  The  follow- 
ing is  an  outline  of  a  Dairy  Cow  of  the  Ayrshire  Breed. 

Fig.  12. 


The  skin  of  the  ox,  it  has  been  said,  should  be  soft  to  the 
touch,  but  not  thin  ;  it  should  likewise  be  unctuous,  and  well 
covered  with  soft  hair.  By  refinement  in  breeding,  and  espe- 
cially by  breeding  from  animals  near  of  blood,  the  hair  be- 
comes short  and  scanty  ;  but  when  this  is  so,  we  are  reminded 
that  we  are  deviating  from  the  natural  characters  in  a  point 
connected  with  hardiness  of  constitution.  The  colour  of  the 
hair  depends  upon  causes  which  we  have  not  yet  been  able 
to  trace.  In  this  country,  certain  races  tend  to  the  black 
colour,  while  others  are  never  found  but  of  the  lighter.  The 
Short-Horned  and  Hereford  breeds  are  never  found  but  red 
or  white,  while  the  Long-horned,  like  the  cattle  of  the  moun- 
tains, are  often  black.  It  does  not  appear  that  the  colour  of 
the  hair  is  of  very  great  moment  with  regard  to  the  hardi- 
ness of  the  animal,  though,  in  cases  of  high  breeding,  as  in 
the  Short-horned  variety,  the  white  colour  seems  to  be  a  con- 
sequence of  constitutional  deviation  from  the  natural  state. 
The  muzzle,  in  certain  breeds,  is  light  or  flesh-coloured;  and  in 
others  black ;  and  this  character  frequently  affords  an  indica- 
tion of  the  purity  of  an  animal,  or,  in  other  words,  its  free- 
dom from  intermixture  of  blood  with  other  races. 

The  Sheep  differs  greatly  from  the  Ox  in  sfze  and  form  ; 
but  there  are  certain  characters  common  to  both,  which  in- 
dicate their  adaptation  to  the  same  uses.  In  the  Sheep,  the 
cranium  is  relatively  larger  than  in  the  Ox,  the  pieces  are 
more  closely  united,  and  the  frontal  bones  forming  the  fore- 
head comparatively  more  thick,  as  if  to  fit  the  animal  for  that 
method  of  attack  which  is  natural  to  him  ;  but  generally  the 
bones  of  the  sheep  are  of  a  greatly  less  dense  consistence 
than  those  of  the  ox.  The  Sheep  has  usually  horns,  which 
are  rough,  angular,  and  tending  to  the  spiral,  but  under  the 
effects  of  domestication,  the  horns  frequently  disappear  in 
one  or  both  sexes ;  and  the  largest  and  most  highly  culti- 
vated races  of  this  country  are  destitute  of  horns.  The  or- 
bits of  the  sheep  are  large,  and  the  eyes  correspond  in  size 
and  prominence  with  this  conformation. 

The  Sheep,  like  the  Ox,  is  furnished  with  a  cartilaginous 


pad  in  the  upper  jaw,  on  which  the  incisor  teeth  of  the  lower 
press.  His  incisors  have  a  certain-  power  of  motion,  so  that 
the  animal  can  suit  them  to  sinuosities  of  the  surface  when 
pasturing  ;  and  his  upper  lip  being  partially  cleft,  he  has  the 
power  of  placing  his  mouth  close  to  the  ground,  so  that  he 
can  crop  the  shortest  herbage.  He  has  8  incisor  teeth  in  the 
lower  jaw,  and  6  molars  on  each  side  of  both  jaws,  so  that 
the  disposition  of  his  teeth  may  be  represented,  precisely  as 
in  the  case  of  the  ox,  thus  : 

Molar.          Canine.         Incisor.          Canine.          Molar. 
Upper  jaw,         .6  0  .0  0  6 

Under  jaw,        .6  0  8  0  6 

The  Sheep  has  7  vertebrae  of  the  neck,  13  of  the  back,  6  of 
the  loins.  The  sacrum  terminates  in  the  caudal  vertebrae, 
which  vary  in  number  to  21.  The  sternum  is  thin,  and  has 
attached  to  it  the  projection,  partly  cartilaginous  and  partly 
muscular,  termed  the  brisket. 

The  integuments  of  the  sheep  are  thick  and  dense,  covered 
partly  with  hair  and  partly  with  wool,  kept  soft  by  an  oily 
secretion  from  the  skin.  In  the  wilder  races  the  hair  is 
largely  mixed  with  the  wool ;  under  artificial  treatment,  the 
hair  diminishes  in  quantity,  and  at  length  is  confined  to  the 
face  and  legs,  all  the  rest  of  the  fleece  being  woolly.  The 
filaments  of  the  wool  possess  more  or  less  tenuity,  softness, 
and  length. 

The  following  figure  is  an  outline  of  a  ram  of  the  New 
Leicester  breed,  divested  of  his  wool. 

Fig.  13. 


The  Sheep  may  be  cultivated  chiefly  for  the  production  of 
human  food,  or  chiefly  for  wool  for  clothing.  In  this  country 
the  Sheep  is  chiefly  cultivated  for  the  former  of  these  pur* 
poses  ;  and  the  same  general  characters  which  indicate  the 
facility  of  fattening  readily  in  the  Ox,  indicate  it  in  the  Sheep. 
But  in  producing  those  characters  in  the  Sheep,  there  is  a 
class  of  considerations  to  which  we  must  pay  regard  even 
more  than  in  the  case  of  the  Ox,  namely,  those  which  relate  to 
health,  and  the  conditions  under  which  the  animal  is  to  subsist. 
The  Sheep  is  subj  ect  to  a  multitude  of  dangerous  maladies  ; 
and  great  losses,  extending  to  the  destruction  of  whole  flocks, 
may  result  from  increasing  his  fattening  properties,  at  the 
expense  of  robustness  and  general  health.  In  certain  cases 
he  is  maintained  in  an  artifical  state  in  a  country  of  enclosures, 
but  in  others  he  is  compelled  to  submit  to  the  inclemency  of 
all  weathers,  and  to  travel  to  great  distances  over  the  steril 
mountains,  heaths,  and  downs,  which  afford  him  herbage. 
The  same  delicacy  of  form  which  might  adapt  him  to  one 
condition  of  external  agents  might  unfit  him  for  another ; 
and  even  under  the  most  favourable  circumstances,  his  deli- 
cacy of  form  and  fattening  properties  may  be  increased  at 
the  expense  of  others  not  less  necessary  to  be  taken  into 
the  account. 

The  Sheep,  like  the  Ox,  may  be  said  to  stand  within  a  rect- 
angle ;  and  the  more  of  the  rectangular  space  his  body  occu- 
pies in  proportion  to  his  limbs,  the  better  is  he  fitted  for 
producing  a  large  quantity  of  muscle  and  fat  in  propor- 
tion to  his  dimensions.  When  we  look,  therefore,  for  this 
property  alone,  we  say  that  in  the  Sheep,  as  in  the  Ox,  the 
body  should  be  large  in  proportion  to  the  limbs,  or,  in  other 
words,  that  the  limbs  should  be  short  in  proportion  to  the 

The  head  should  be  relatively  small,  as  indicating  that 
delicacy  of  the  extremities  which  denotes  an  animal  that 
readily  assimilates  his  food.  The  face  should  be  covered 
with  short  hair,  the  channel  of  the  jaws  should  be  wide,  the 


external  ears  should  be  thin,  the  eyes  prominent  and  clear, 
the  neck  should  be  short  and  well  covered  with  muscles, 
which  should  expand  quickly  from  the  points  of  attachment 
at  the  cranium  and  jaws  towards  the  breast  and  shoulder. 
A  thinness  of  the  neck,  although  not  inconsistent  with  the 
property  of  fattening,  usually  indicates  a  deficiency  of  muscle 
on  the  breast  and  shoulder,  and,  generally,  a  want  of  vigour 
in  the  animal. 

The  neck  should  be  slightly  arched  ;  but  in  certain  races 
it  is  nearly  level  with  the  back.  From  the  neck  to  the  pel- 
vis the  upper  line  of  the  back  should  be  straight,  and  nearly 
so  from  the  loins  to  the  bending  downward  of  the  tail.  The 
back  should  be  of  medium  length,  and  the  distance  between 
the  last  rib  and  the  pelvis  relatively  short.  Breeders,  in- 
deed, desire  a  long  sheep  ;  but  the  character  of  length,  de- 
rived from  extension  of  the  dorsal  and  lumbar  parts,  does 
not  indicate  vigour  or  disposition  to  fatten,  but  merely  a 
larger  extent  of  muscular  substance.  But  the  haunch  should 
always  be  long  from  the  haunch -bones  backward, — this  con- 
formation never  indicating  the  weakness  which  may  result 
from  a  too  great  extension  in  length' of  the  back  and  loins. 

The  upper  line  of  the  haunch,  it  has  been  said,  should  be 
long  and  straight  from  the  haunch-bones  backward.  When 
it  droops  considerably,  as  in  the  less  cultivated  breeds,  the 
conformation  is  regarded  as  defective.  Further,  the  whole 
haunch  or  quarter  should  be  broad  and  deep,  corresponding 
to  the  depth  of  trunk,  and  the  muscles  should  be  largely  de- 
veloped in  the  inside  of  the  tibia,  forming  what  is  popularly 
called  the  twist. 

The  ribs  should  be  very  curved,  proceeding  at  first  hori- 
zontally from  the  spine,  from  which  conformation  it  will  re- 
sult that  the  back  will  be  broad  as  well  as  straight.  In  cer- 
tain highly  cultivated  breeds,  the  horizontal  expansion  of  the 
ribs  is  so  great  that  often  it  seems  to  the  eye  as  if  the  body 
were  more  broad  than  deep.  The  transverse  processes  of 
the  lumbar  region  should,  in  an  especial  degree,  be  largo, 


I  indicating  broad  loins,  a  character  denoting,  in  the  case  of 
all  animals,  strength  of  back  and  general  hardihood. 

The  haunch-bones  should  be  distant  from  one  another,  in- 
dicating the  character,  before  referred  to,  of  broadness  of  the 
haunch  ;  the  breast  should  be  wide,  largely  covered  with 
muscle,  and  projecting  well  in  front  of  the  fore-limbs.  In 
consequence  of  the  width  of  the  breast,  the  fore- legs  will  be 
distant  from  one  another,  and  the  same  character  should  ex- 
tend to  the  posterior  limbs,  indicating  the  lateral  extension 
of  the  body  at  every  part.  The  limbs  should  be  fleshy  down 
to  the  knees  and  hocks,  and  below  these  joints,  narrow  when 
seen  from  the  front,  and  flat  when  seen  in  profile.  There 
should  be  a  general  absence  of  angular  points  and  hollows, 
as  where  the  neck  joins  the  shoulder,  the  shoulder  the  parts 
behind,  and  the  loins  the  haunch. 

The  skin,  too,  should  present  that  softness  to  the  touch 
which  indicates  facility  in  fattening  in  all  animals  known  to 
us.  It  should  be  closely  covered  with  wool,  extending  to 
the  face,  which  is  covered  with  a  short  hair,  and  to  the  knees 
and  hocks,  where  the  tendinous  parts  of  the  muscles  begin. 

The  characters  which  indicate  the  property  of  producing 
wool  of  different  length  and  fineness  have  not  been  so  accu- 
rately determined.  It  is  known  merely  that  different  races 
have  the  faculty  of  producing  wool  different  in  the  length, 
tenuity,  softness,  and  other  properties  of  the  fibre.  In  gene- 
ral, the  sheep  long  naturalized  in  countries  of  abundant 
herbage  produce  long  thick  wool,  while  those  acclimated  in 
countries  yielding  the  finer  herbage  plants,  produce  wool 
more  or  less  short  and  fine.  But  whatever  be  the  conditions 
under  which  different  kinds  of  wool  are  produced,  it  is  known 
that  the  property  can  be  transmitted  from  the  parents  to  the 
young,  in  the  same  manner  as  other  characters  acquired. 

The  Hog  differs  greatly  in  conformation  and  habits  from 
the  animals  that  have  been  described.  His  face  is  termi- 
nated by  a  cartilaginous  disc,  endued  with  great  strength 
and  exquisite  sensibility,  with  which  he  grubs  up  the  roots, 



larvae,  and  other  food  which  he  finds  under  ground.  His 
neck  is  strong  and  muscular ;  his  limbs  in  the  natural  state 
are  short  and  stout ;  his  skin  is  very  thick,  and  covered  with 
bristles.  He  possesses  the  kind  of  teeth  suited  to  animals 
that  are  omnivorous,  and  the  canines  bending  upward,  be- 
come in  the  male  formidable  weapons.  His  feet  are  cloven, 
and  defended  by  strong  hoofs,  and  he  has  toes  behind  which 
do  not  reach  the  ground.  The  following  is  an  outline  of  the 
Wild  Boar  and  Sow,  brought  from  the  south  of  Europe. 

Fig.  14. 

Differing  so  greatly  in  conformation  as  this  animal  does 
from  those  which  have  been  described,  yet  the  same  general 
characters  indicate  in  him,  as  in  all  the  others,  the  faculty 
of  readily  assimilating  his  food,  and  of  quickly  arriving  at 
that  maturity  of  muscle  and  fatness,  which  fits  him  for  the 
uses  for  which  he  is  destined ;  and  there  is  no  other  animal 
known  to  us  which  so  easily  receives  the  characters  which 
we  seek  to  impress  upon  it,  or  transmits  them  more  faith- 
fully to  his  offspring,  " 

The  breast  should  be  wide  and  deep,  and  the  trunk  capa- 
cious. The  extremities,  namely,  the  head,  the  tail,  and  the 
lower  part  of  the  limbs,  should  be  delicate ;  and  the  legs 
should  be  short  in  proportion  to  the  size  of  the  trunk. 



The  skin  should  be  soft  and  expansive,  and  the  bristles  soft 
and  approaching  to  the  character  of  hair.  The  following 
figures  will  shew  the  surprising  deviation  from  the  natural 
form  which  the  animal,  under  the  influence  of  domestication, 
exhibits.  The  first  is  an  outline  of  the  Old  English  Sow, 
exhibiting  almost  all  the  characters  of  external  form  which 
breeders  study  to  avoid ;  the  second  is  an  outline  of  a  cross 
between  a  female  'of  the  Siamese  race  and  a  native  male  of 
a  fine  breed,  shewing  the  characters  which  are  held  to  be 
good,  and  the  consequent  tendency  to  obesity  which  these 
characters  indicate. 

Fig.  15. 

Fig.  16. 

The  physiological  effects  have  been  referred  to  of  breeding 
from  animals  nearly  allied  to  one  another  in  blood.  When 
carried  to  the  degree  of  continually  reuniting  animals  of  the 
nearest  affinities,  as  parents  with  their  offspring,  and  brothers 
with  sisters,  the  effect,  after  a  time,  is  manifested  in  the  im- 



pairment  of  the  constitution  of  the  animals,  and  at  length 
in  unfitting  them  for  reproducing  their  own  kind.  In  the 
practice  which  has  existed  in  England  of  forming  artificial 
breeds  of  sheep  and  cattle,  this  class  of  experiments  has 
been  made  to  the  degree  of  shewing  the  limits  to  which 
it  can  be  carried,  under  a  regard  to  the  safety,  and  even 
existence,  of  the  animals.  In  the  original  formation  of  some 
of  the  finer  artificial  breeds  of  this  country,  animals  were 
sought  for  having  the  characters  which  it  was  designed  to 
cultivate.  But  the  breeders,  unwilling  to  mix  the  blood  of 
inferior  races  with  that  of  their  own  improved  stocks,  con- 
tinued to  breed  from  them  alone,  and  found,  by  experience, 
that  the  nearer  in  affinities  of  blood,  and  consequently  of 
characters,  the  parents  were,  the  more  their  progeny  re- 
sembled them.  Hence  the  extensive  system  of  breeding 
"  in-and-in,"  as  it  was  called,  pursued  by  the  earlier  breed- 
ers, as  Bakewell,  Colling,  and  others.  The  effect  was  very 
quickly  to  produce  a  distinct  family,  distinguished  by  the 
characters  communicated  to  it.  But  this  effect  was  followed 
by  another  which  was  not  contemplated,  and  could  scarcely 
have  been  inferred  independently  of  experience.  The  ani- 
mals arrived  sooner  at  maturity,  and  thus  became  more 
quickly  adapted  to  the  uses  for  which  they  were  intended, — 
the  supply  of  human  food  :  so  that  one  of  the  most  import- 
ant ends  of  the  breeder  was  attained,  the  procuring  of  ani- 
mals fitted  to  arrive  at  early  maturity  of  muscle  and  fatness, 
in  which  respects  some  of  the  artificial  breeds  of  England 
became  the  finest  in  the  world,  and  still  surpass  those  of  any 
other  country.  But  the  practice  was  soon  discovered  to  have 
its  limits,  and,  when  carried  too  far,  to  produce  all  the  effects 
on  the  system  which  have  been  referred  to.  The  animals, 
with  their  earlier  maturity,  and  increased  tendency  to  obe- 
sity, became  less  hardy ;  their  skins  became  thinner,  and 
the  hairy  or  woolly  covering  more  scanty  ;  their  limbs  be- 
came more  slender ;  the  males  lost  so  much  of  the  masculine 
characters  as  often  to  be  incapable  of  propagating  their  race, 


while  the  power  of  the  females  to  secrete  milk  diminished  ; 
and  both  sexes  were  rendered  more  subject  to  diseases,  as 
apoplexy,  and  inflammation  of  the  digestive  and  respiratory 
organs.  While,  then,  it  is  important  to  be  aware  of  this 
mean  of  communicating  certain  properties  to  animals  culti- 
vated for  human  food,  it  is  no  less  important  to  be  aware 
of  its  tendency  to  impair  that  sound  health,  and  constitu- 
tional hardiness,  on  which  the  profit  of  the  breeder  may 
often  more  depend,  than  even  on  an  early  maturity  of  the 
animal  system. 



OF  the  Ruminating  Animals,  the  most  varied  in  their 
forms,  the  most  beautiful  and  swift,  are  the  Deer  and  Ante- 
lope tribes  ;  the  former  furnished  with  solid  antlers  of  bone, 
which,  in  all  the  species  but  one,  are  confined  to  the  male, 
and  which  fall  off  after  the  season  of  Bexual  intercourse ;  the 

2  THE  GOAT. 

latter  possessed  of  hollow  horns,  like  those  of  the  Ox,  the 
Sheep,  and  the  Goat,  enveloping  permanent  nuclei  of  bone 
proceeding  from  the  forehead.  Of  the  many  species  of  Deer, 
only  one,  the  Reindeer,  an  inhabitant  of  the  northern  glacial 
region,  has  been  subjected  to  true  domesticity,  although  in- 
dividuals of  the  other  species  may  be  readily  tamed  to  sub- 
mission and  dependence.  Of  the  Antelope  tribes,  all  the 
species  remain  in  a  state  of  liberty,  apparently  endowed  with 
instincts  which  cause  them  to  shun  the  dangerous  vicinage 
of  man.  But  the  Antelopes,  wild,  timid,  and  indocile  as  they 
seem,  are  most  of  them  gentle  and  submissive  when  reared 
up  under  human  protection,  and  might,  doubtless,  like  their 
congeners,  be  reduced  to  domestication  :  and  further,  the 
Antelopes  approach  by  insensible  gradations  to  the  forms  of 
those  animals  which  Nature  has  fashioned  to  subject  them- 
selves most  readily  to  the  physical  force  and  moral  influence 
of  our  race.  At  one  point  they  are  connected  with  the  mas- 
sive forms  of  the  Bovine  group,  and  at  another  they  pass 
into  the  Goats  so  nearly,  that  the  line  which  separates  the 
species  scarcely  forms  a  natural  boundary.  The  chief  dis- 
tinction between  them  and  the  Goats  is  in  the  bony  nuclei  of 
the  horns,  which,  in  the  Antelopes,  are  hard  and  solid,  in  the 
Goats  cellular,  and  communicating  with  the  frontal  sinuses. 
As  the  Antelopes  pass  into  the  Goats,  so  the  latter  pass  into 
the  Sheep.  The  internal  organization  of  both  the  families  is 
the  same  ;  they  bear  their  young  for  the  same  period,  have  a 
similar  sound  of  the  voice,  and  they  breed  with  one  another, 
giving  birth  to  a  progeny  partaking  of  the  characters  of  the 
parents.  Both  are  covered  with  a  mixture  of  hair  and  wool ; 
but  in  the  Goats  the  true  wool  rarely  predominates  over  the 
hair,  so  as  to  form  the  essential  covering  of  the  body.  The 
horns  of  the  Goat  are  more  straight  and  upright  than  those 
of  the  Sheep,  though  in  some  varieties  of  Goats  the  horns 
are  spirally  twisted,  and  in  some  varieties  of  Sheep,  as  in 
the  short-tailed  kinds  of  northern  Europe,  the  horns  are  as 
straight  as  in  the  Goat.  The  Goat  has  generally  bristly 


hairs  on  the  breast,  throat,  and  lower  jaw,  forming  a  distinct 
beard  ;  but  in  some  Goats  these  are  wanting,  and  in  some  of 
the  ruder  varieties  of  Sheep  a  beard  appears,  although  it  is 
never  so  fully  developed  as  in  the  male  of  Goats.  The  Goat 
has  a  short  tail,  naked  below,  and  carried  more  or  less  up- 
right ;  but  this  character  likewise  exists  in  certain  races  of 
Sheep,  as  in  those  of  the  Zetland  Islands,  and  generally  in 
the  other  races  of  the  extreme  north  of  Europe.  The  skin 
of  the  Goat  emits  a  peculiar  musky  odour,  which,  so  far  as 
is  known,  does  not  exist  in  any  race  of  Sheep  ;  yet  there  are 
Goats  in  the  countries  of  the  East  which  are  destitute  of  the 
hircine  odour.  It  is  said,  indeed,  that  the  Sheep  is  distin- 
guished from  the  Goat  by  the  former  possessing  interdigital 
glands  ;  but  this  character  is  not  ascertained  to  be  univer- 
sal ;  and  it  must,  therefore,  be  admitted  that  all  the  charac- 
ters of  form  employed  to  discriminate  the  two  groups  are 
technical  and  trivial.  It  is  chiefly  by  the  general  aspect  and 
habitudes  of  the  species  that  we  can  separate  them  into  ge- 
nera. The  Goat  always  approaches  more  in  form  and  habits 
to  the  Antelope  tribes  than  the  Sheep,  and  may  be  regarded 
as  the  connecting  link  between  them.  While  the  Sheep,  in 
the  state  of  domestication,  is  comparatively  submissive  and 
timid,  the  Goat  is  restless,  bold,  and  independent,  even  when 
most  enslaved.  He  is  familiar  and  capricious,  wanders  at 
will  from  his  fellows  of  the  flock,  and  seeks  the  craggy  sum- 
mits of  the  mountains  where  his  native  plants  are  to  be  found. 
He  boldly  faces  the  enemies  that  assail  him,  and  manifests  a 
greater  confidence  in  his  human  protectors  than  the  Sheep. 

From  the  earliest  period  of  human  societies,  this  wild  and 
erratic  creature  seems  to  have  been  subjected  to  the  power 
of  man.  We  read  of  him  as  coeval  with  the  Ox  and  the 
Sheep  in  those  fair  regions  of  the  East  where  the  first  dawn 
of  civilization  appears  through  the  mists  of  time.  He  en- 
tered into  the  mythological  systems  of  the  first  nations,  and, 
by  the  earlier  observers  of  the  heavens,  was  appointed  to  be  a 
sign  in  the  Zodiac,  with  Aries  and  Taurus,  his  fellows  in  the 
service  of  man  ;  although,  in  ancient  Indian  delineations  of  the 


Zodiac,  the  Antelope,  and  not  the  Goat,  is  used  as  the  sign 
of  Capricorn.  The  Sacred  Writings  continually  refer  to  the 
Goat  as  forming,  along  with  the  Sheep,  the  Ox.  and  the  Camel, 
the  riches  of  the  patriarchal  families.  He  is  one  of  the  ani- 
mals permitted  by  the  laws  of  Moses  .to  be  used  as  human 
food,  and  he  is  ordained  to  be  employed  in  a  remarkable  re- 
ligious ceremony.  He  was  cultivated  by  the  Hindoos  from 
the  earliest  times  ;  and  he  is  figured  on  the  sculptured  monu- 
ments of  the  Egyptians,  in  their  representations  of  mystic 
emblems,  religious  rites,  and  rural  labours.  By  the  earliest 
writers  of  Greece  and  Rome  he  is  continually  referred  to  as 
yielding  food  and  raiment  ;  and  superstition  connected  him 
with  the  attributes  and  service  of  the  Gods.  He  was  dedi- 
cated to  Jupiter  Conservator,  and  sacrificed  to  Apollo,  Diana, 
Bacchus,  and  the  Paphian  Venus,  and  his  skin  was  the  JEgi* 
of  the  Goddess  of  Wisdom  and  Arms.  His  form  was  one  of 
the  attributes  of  Pan  and  the  Satyrs,  indicating  the  procrea- 
tive  power  and  rustic  plenty.  He  was  domesticated  by  the 
Lybians  and  the  nations  that  stretched  along  the  southern 
shores  of  the  Mediterranean  inland  to  the  mountains  of  Atlas. 
He  was  cultivated  by  the  Dacians,  Sarmatians,  and  other 
nations  stretching  from  the  Euxine  into  the  wilds  of  Scythia. 
The  Gauls  and  all  the  Celtic  people  of  Europe  appear  to  have 
been  possessed  of  him  in  the  domesticated  state,  using  his 
hair  and  skin  for  garments,  and  his  fiesh  and  milk  for  food. 
Up  to  nearly  the  present  day,  the  descendants  of  the  pristine 
Celtre  cultivated  the  Goat,  as  one  of  the  most  useful  of  the 
animals  given  to  them  for  food.  Until  a  recent  period,  the 
Cambro-Britons  and  the  Celtic  people  of  the  mountains  of 
North  Britain  and  Ireland,  made  greater  use  of  the  Goat 
than  of  the  Sheep  ;  and  many  of  their  appellations  of  families, 
places,  mountains,  rivers,  and  natural  objects,  are  derived 
from  the  name  which  it  bears  in  the  Celtic  tongue.  In  like 
manner,  the  Scandinavian,  the  German,  and  other  Teutonic 
nations,  who  had  migrated  in  the  first  ages  into  Europe  from 
the  East,  were  possessed  of  this  gift  of  Providence,  used  his 
spoils  for  raiment  and  food,  arid  coupled  him  with  their  wild 


mperstitions.  In  short,  the  Goat  appears  to  have  been 
domesticated  wherever  the  traces  are  found  of  that  great 
Western  Family  of  mankind,  which,  united  by  analogies  of 
form,  speech,  and  traditionary  legends,  appears  to  have  been 
derived  from  a  common  source,  and  spread  from  a  common 
centre.  But  the  domesticated  Goat  was  not  confined  to  this 
division  of  the  human  race.  It  extended,  beyond  a  question, 
all  through  the  boundless  regions  of  Eastern  Asia  to  the 
ocean,  comprehending  tribes  and  nations,  which,  however 
distinct  from  the  western  family  of  the  human  race  in  aspect, 
character,  and  speech,  yet  agreed  with  it  in  this,  that  the 
same  domesticated  animals  ministered  to  the  wants  of  both. 
But  the  insular  continent  of  New  Holland  never  possessed 
the  Goat ;  for  no  trace  of  this,  or  of  any  of  the  ruminating 
animals  which  had  elsewhere  followed  the  footsteps  of  man, 
as  instruments  of  civilization,  was  found  at  the  discovery  of 
this  new  world.  Neither  did  it  exist  in  any  of  the  Polyne- 
sian Islands  ;  and,  more  strange  and  incomprehensible  still, 
no  vestige  either  of  the  domesticated  Goat,  or  of  his  uni- 
versal companions  in  the  ancient  world,  the  Sheep,  the  Ox, 
and  the  Horse,  was  found  in  the  great  American  Continent, 
though  peopled  from  end  to  end. 

The  wild  animals  of  the  Caprine  group  which  have  been 
as  yet  discovered,  and  described  by  naturalists,  are  the  fol- 
lowing : — 

1.  CAPRA  IBEX,  the  Alpine  Ibex. 

2.  CAPRA  CAUCASICA,  the  Caucasian  Ibex. 

3.  CAPRA  SIBIRICA,  the  Siberian  Ibex. 

4.  CAPRA  NUBIANA,  the  Nubian  or  xVbyssinian  Ibex. 

5.  CAPRA  ^EGAGRUS,  the  ^Egagrus. 

6.  CAPRA  JEMLAHICA,  the  Jemlah  Goat. 

7.  CAPRA  JAHRAL,  the  Jahral  Goat. 

The  ALPINE  IBEX,  the  Bouquetin  of  the  natives  of  the 
Alps,  the  Stein-bok,  or  Rock-Goat  of  the  Germans,  inhabits  the 
Pyrenees,  the  Alps  of  Switzerland,  and  the  Tyrol,  and  pro- 
bably other  mountainous  parts  of  Europe.  He  resembles  the 

6  THE  GOAT. 

domestic  Goat  in  his  external  form,  but  surpasses  it  in  sta- 
ture. He  is  protected  by  a  coat  of  lank  hair  covering  a  down 
of  delicate  wool,  which  falls  off  in  the  warmer  season.  The 
colour  of  his  fur  is  a  grayish  dusky  brown,  fawn-coloured  on 
the  belly,  and  whitish  on  the  inner  part  of  the  thighs,  the  in- 
side of  the  ears,  and  a  part  of  the  tail.  He  has  a  beard,  and 
a  dark  brown  ridge  of  bristly  hairs  extending  from  the  neck 
to  the  tail,  which  is  shdrt  and  naked  underneath.  He  has 
large  black  horns,  bending  backwards,  and  turning  outward 
towards  the  points.  His  hoofs  are  large,  widely  cleft,  and 
sharp  at  the  exterior  edges,  so  that  he  can  fix  himself  se- 
curely on  the  points  and  shelving  sides  of  rocks.  This  con- 
formation, joined  to  his  surpassing  power  of  balancing  his 
body,  and  the  great  strength  of  his  posterior  limbs,  enables 
him  to  make  those  amazing  bounds  from  crag  to  crag,  by 
which  he  is  enabled  to  traverse  the  wilderness  of  rocks  which 
he  inhabits.  He  has  been  seen  to  spring  up  the  steep  side 
of  a  precipice  of  many  feet,  nay,  striking  the  sides  to  give 
himself  a  fresh  impetus,  ascend  to  the  perilous  summit  as  if 
by  a  single  effort ;  and,  on  the  other  hand,  to  precipitate 
himself  from  an  eminence,  alighting  securely  on  the  verge  of 
the  precipice.  It  is  believed  by  the  hunters  of  the  Alps,  that, 
when  springing  from  a  great  height,  he  bends  his  head  be- 
neath his  forelegs,  so  as  to  break  his  fall  by  striking  the  rock 
with  his  horns.  It  is  rather  to  be  believed,  that  his  power  of 
thus  precipitating  himself  is  due  to  his  nice  power  of  balanc- 
ing his  weight,  and  the  conformation  of  the  horny  covering 
of  his  feet.  The  female  resembles  the  male,  but  her  horns 
are  shorter,  more  slender,  and  less  curved.  She  has  two 
mammee,  forming  an  udder.  She  goes  with  young  somewhat 
more  than  twenty  weeks,  .and  produces  one,  or  often  two,  at 
a  birth.  She  receives  the  male  about  the  end  of  October,  so 
that  the  kids  may  be  born  when  the  new  shoots  and  leaves 
of  the  vernal  season  appear.  When  about  to  give  birth  to 
her  young,  she  seeks  some  lonely  place  where  she  may  be 
safe  from  surprise,  usually  near  some  rivulet  or  spring,  pro- 
ceeding from  the  glaciers  and  mountains  of  snow  which  sur- 


round  her.  The  kids,  when  born,  are  covered  with  a  short 
gray  fur  of  hair  and  wool ;  their  limbs  are  stout,  and  their 
bodies  light  and  buoyant;  and  in  a  few  hours  they  are  able 
to  follow  the  dam,  who  vigilantly  guards  them  from  the  at- 
tacks of  eagles  and  other  beasts  of  prey. 

These  wild  and  powerful  Goats  are  gregarious,  and  found 
in  small  flocks ;  but  individuals  separate  from  the  herd,  and 
form  their  solitary  lairs,  like  the  stag  and  other  deer.  At 
the  rutting  season,  desperate  conflicts  take  place  for  the  pos- 
session of  the  females,  the  stronger  expelling  the  weaker,  and 
thus  fulfilling  a  natural  provision  for  preserving  the  proper- 
ties of  the  race,  by  giving  the  privilege  of  propagating  it  to 
the  most  vigorous.  They  inhabit  the  highest  part  of  the 
mountains,  near  the  line  of  perpetual  congelation  and  the 
limits  of  vegetable  life,  and  beyond  the  range  of  the  wildest 
of  the  Antelopes.  They  feed  on  the  herbaceous  willows,  the 
juniper,  the  crowberry,  and  other  plants  of  the  higher  moun- 
tains. In  winter  they  descend  to  the  lower  slopes  of  the 
hills,  but  never  venture  into  the  plains  and  woods  of  the 
level  country.  They  have  the  senses  of  sight,  smell,  and 
hearing,  in  exquisite  perfection.  Perched  on  the  loftiest 
peaks,  in  the  region  of  clouds  and  mist,  they  watch  the  mo- 
tions of  their  enemies,  and  on  their  approach  give  signal  of 
danger  to  their  comrades  by  a  shrill  whistle,  when  all  betake 
themselves  to  the  neighbouring  mountains  of  rock  and  ever- 
lasting ice,  where  human  foot  cannot  follow  them.  Yet  they 
are  made  the  subject  of  the  chase  by  the  hardy  hunters  of  the 
Chamois  Antelope,  who  steal  upon  them  in  their  lonely  lairs, 
or  bring  them  down  by  the  fatal  ball  from  the  distant  preci- 
pice. When  brought  to  bay,  it  is  said  they  have  been  known 
to  precipitate  themselves  upon  their  pursuers,  and  hurl  them 
down  a  precipice.  Incessant  persecution  has  thinned  their 
numbers ;  so  that,  in  the  mountains  of  Europe,  where  they 
once  abounded,  they  are  now  scarcely  to  be  found. 

This  creature,  so  powerful,  vigilant,  and  wild,  is  yet  formed 
to  submit  himself  to  human  control.  When  the  kids  are 

8  THE  GOAT. 

taken  young,  they  are  tamed  with  facility,  and  adopt  the 
habits  of  the  domesticated  flock.  They  breed  with  the  tame 
race,  when  kept  together ;  and  it  is  an  old  opinion  of  the 
shepherds  of  the  Pyrenees  and  Alps,  that  Bouquetins  some- 
times come  down  from  the  higher  mountains  and  mingle  with 
the  females  of  the  flock.  The  offspring  of  these  supposed 
unions  are  said  to  be  larger  and  more  robust  than  the  com- 
mon Goats,  and  are  selected  by  the  shepherds  to  be  leaders 
of  the  flock. 

The  CAUCASIAN  IBEX,  inhabiting  the  mountains  of  Taurus 
and  the  Caucasus,  so  nearly  resembles  the  Alpine  Ibex,  in 
habits,  colour,  and  form,  that  there  seems  to  be  no  sufficient 
reason  for  regarding  it  as  specifically  distinct.  The  princi- 
pal divergence  is  in  the  horns ;  but  how  greatly  the  horns  of 
the  ruminating  tribes  vary  with  age  and  place,  is  known  in 
other  cases ;  and  it  is  altogether  probable,  that  the  Ibex  of 
the  Caucasus  is  no  other  than  the  Ibex  of  the  Alps  of  Eu- 
rope :  and  the  same  remark  applies  to  the  Ibex  of  the  Ura- 
lian  mountains,  termed  Siberian.  If  future  observation  shall 
shew  that  these  species  are  identical,  then  the  Ibex  must  be 
characterized  as  having  a  surprising  range  of  country.  He  is 
an  inhabitant  of  most  of  the  great  mountain  ranges  of  Asia 
and  Europe,  stretching  from  the  Pyrenees  to  the  Caucasus, 
and  thence,  it  may  be  believed,  eastward  to  the  snowy  heights 
of  central  Asia,  and  northward,  by  the  Uralian  and  other 
mountain  chains,  to  Siberia  and  the  Sea  of  Okotsk. 

But  Africa,  where  the  forms  of  animal  life  present  them- 
selves under  a  new  aspect,  possesses  likewise  its  mountain 
Goats.  The  NUBIAN  or  ABYSSINIAN  IBEX,  has  been  found 
at  the  eastern  termination  of  that  prodigious  chain  of  moun- 
tains, which,  more  or  less  continuously,  seems  to  intersect 
the  continent  from  east  to  west.  It  is  believed,  but  upon 
doubtful  grounds,  that  the  same  species  is  found  in  the  moun- 
tains of  Arabia.  The  Abyssinian  Ibex  is  described  as  being 
larger  than  the  Ibex  of  Europe ;  as  having  little  beard,  but 
a  ridge  of  long  hairs  on  the  throat  and  sternum,  and  a  dark 


line  on  the  anterior  part  of  the  legs  and  along  the  back  ;  and 
as  having  very  large  horns  bent  in  a  half  circle.* 

The  JEGAGRUS,  Capra  JEgagrus  of  Pallas,  inhabits  the 
mountain  chains  of  Western  Asia,  from  the  Caucasus  east- 
ward, by  the  countries  of  the  Caspian,  to  an  unknown  dis- 
tance, and  southward,  through  the  high  lands  of  Persia  and 
Caubul,  into  Hindostan.  It  is  the  Pazan  of  the  Persians  ;  and 
is  believed  to  be  one  of  the  animals  which  yield  the  concre- 
tion termed  Bezoar,  to  which  certain  healing  virtues  are 
ascribed  by  the  Orientals.  It  resembles  the  common  Goats 
in  its  general  form  :  it  has  very  large  horns,  sometimes  want- 
ing in  the  females,  of  a  brown  ashy  colour,  marked  with 
tubercles,  and  sharp  at  the  anterior  edge,  bending  backward 
and  turning  outward  at  the  points.  The  hair  of  the  body  is 
a  grayish-brown,  with  a  dark  ridge  along  the  spine,  extend- 
ing to  the  termination  of  the  tail.  The  beard,  of  a  rufous 
colour,  is  long  in  the  male,  but  shorter  in  the  female,  and 
coarse  hairs  extend  from  the  throat  down  the  breast.  This 
creature  is  exceedingly  wild,  but  inhabits  a  lower  range  of 
altitude  than  the  Ibex.  It  is  numerous  in  the  higher  parts 
of  Asia  Minor,  and  is  believed  by  many  naturalists  to  be  the 
parent  stock  of  most  of  the  domestic  Goats  ;  and  by  some  to 
be  the  common  Goat  restored  to  a  state  of  liberty. 

The  JEMLAH  GOAT,  Capra  Jemlahica  of  Colonel  Hamilton 
Smith,  is  found  in  the  most  elevated  parts  of  Central  Asia. 
It  is  described  by  this  eminent  naturalist,  from  a  skin  trans- 
mitted to  the  British  Museum,  as  being  nearly  of  the  size  of 
the  Ibex,  and  as  having  the  horns  nearly  in  contact  at  the 
base,  of  a  pale  ashy-buff  colour,  nodose,  very  depressed,  nine 
inches  long,  bending  outwards,  then  turning  suddenly,  so  as 
to  meet  nearly  over  the  neck.  The  bones  of  the  head  are 
dense  and  ponderous,  the  tail  is  very  short,  and  there  is  no 
true  beard.  The  colour  of  the  hair,  with  the  exception  of 
some  darkish  streaks,  is  a  dull  light  fawn,  with  locks  of 

*  Colonel  Hamilton  Smith. 

10  THE  GOAT. 

brown  interspersed ;  and  on  the  cheeks  the  hair  is  long  and 
coarse,  hanging  like  a  lion's  mane  on  each  side  of  the  head. 
Nothing  is  known  of  the  habits  of  this  beautiful  Goat.  Its 
external  characters  shew  it  to  be  distinct  from  the  Ibex  of 
the  Caucasus  and  Europe. 

The  JAHRAL  GOAT,  Capra  Jahral  of  Hodgson,  has  been 
found  in  the  mountains  of  Nepaul.  It  is  described  as  having 
the  head  finely  formed,  full  of  expression,  clad  in  short  hairs, 
and  without  any  vestige  of  beard.  It  is  of  a  compact  and  ro- 
bust make  ;  is  found  solitary  or  in  flocks ;  is  bold,  capricious, 
wantcn,  pugnacious,  and  easily  domesticated.  It  has  the 
horns  nine  inches  in  length,  smooth,  and  sharpened  towards 
the  points,  and  not  turned  inward  or  nodose,  like  those  of  the 
Jemlah.  It  is  clothed  with  a  coat  of  hair  covering  a  fine  and 
delicate  wool,  of  one  length  and  colour.  Superficially  the 
hair  is  brown,  but  internally  it  is  blue,  and  the  mane  is  for 
the  most  part  of  the  same  colour.  The  tongue,  the  palate, 
and  the  skin  of  the  lips,  are  black,  and  the  iris  is  of  a  deep 
reddish  hazel.* 

In  America,  the  Goat  is  represented  by  the  Wool-bearing 
Antelope,  which  approaches  so  nearly  in  character  to  the 
Goat,  that  it  is  by  some  naturalists  included  in  the  latter 

Such  are  the  wild  of  the  Caprine  family  which  naturalists 
have  discriminated ;  but  how  far  the  list  yet  remains  to  be 
corrected,  or  extended,  is  unknown.  The  great  mountains 
and  elevated  plains  of  Central  Asia  have  as  yet  been  imper- 
fectly opened  to  European  research,  and  the  paths  of  the  tra- 
veller are  but  as  specks  and  lines  in  the  countries  to  be  ex- 
plored. The  boundless  terraces  and  interior  mountains  of 
the  African  continent,  which  may  be  regarded  as  the  centre 
of  a  distinct  order  of  living  beings,  may  be  said  to  be  as  yet 
untrodden  by  the  foot  of  civilized  man  ;  and  we  know  nothing 
of  the  treasures  which  this  vast  wilderness  may  contain,  be- 

*  Hodgson — Proceedings  of  the  Zoological  Society. 


yond  the  animals  which  approach  the  coasts,  or  are  found  in 
the  few  countries  which  are  accessible.  We  may  expect  that, 
as  future  explorers  advance  into  the  wilder  regions  of  tjie 
two  continents,  the  natural  history  of  the  Caprine  family  will 
be  illustrated  and  extended.  But,  as  domesticated  Goats  are 
found  in  the  possession  of  almost  all  the  nations  of  the  Old 
Continents,  a  natural  inquiry,  even  in  the  present  state  of 
our  knowledge,  arises,  as  to  the  parent  stock  from  which 
these  animals,  so  generally  diffused,  have  been  derived. 

Ancient  writers  frequently  speak  of  Wild  Goats  in  a  man- 
ner which  leads  us  to  conclude  that  they  regarded  them 
merely  as  the  wild  of  the  common  race.  But  the  notices  of 
these  writers  are  so  vague  and  imperfect,  that  we  do  not 
know  whether  they  referred  to  the  Ibex,  the  ^Egagrus,  the 
Chamois  Antelope,  or  any  other  species  formerly  inhabiting 
the  same  countries,  but  now  driven  away  or  destroyed.  The 
opinion  prevalent  until  a  recent  period  was,  that  the  Ibex 
was  the  parent  stock  of  the  common  Goats ;  but  since  the 
JEgagrus  has  been  admitted  to  be  a  distinct  species,  the 
general  opinion  of  naturalists  has  been,  that  the  latter  rather 
than  the  Ibex,  is  the  wild  of  th^  common  Goat.  But  the 
^Egagrus  does  not  approach  nearer  in  habitudes  and  form  to 
the  common  Goats  than  the  Ibex ;  and  although  the  latter 
inhabits  a  higher  range  of  mountains,  he  seems  to  resign  his 
natural  liberty  with  equal  readiness.  Further,  the  Jemlah 
Goat,  and,  by  analogy,  we  may  believe,  others  of  the  genus, 
seem  to  be  all  endowed  with  the  faculty  of  resigning  their 
natural  freedom,  and  submitting  to  domestication.  The  most 
probable  supposition,  therefore,  is,  that  the  domesticated 
Goats  have  been  derived  not  from  one,  but  from  different 
species.  Not  only  do  the  Goats  of  different  countries  differ 
from  one  another,  but  there  exist  in  the  same  country,  under 
the  same  conditions  of  climate  and  food,  races  so  divergent, 
that  it  is  scarcely  possible  to  believe  that  they  have  not  been 
derived  from  stirpes  distinct  in  the  wild  state.  The  Syrian 
Goat,  so  called,  with  a  convex  face  and  with  an  udder  in  the 

12  THE  GOAT. 

female  hanging  to  the  ground,  is  as  different  from  the  Com- 
mon Goats  of  the  same  country  as  the  Jackal  from  the  Wolf, 
and  has  retained,  as  we  know  from  ancient  notices,  its  dis- 
tinctive characters  for  twenty  centuries  at  least ;  that  is,  for 
nearly  two  thousand  generations  of  the  race.  The  little 
Goats  of  the  coast  of  Guinea  have  been  acclimated  in  America 
and  the  West  India  Islands  for  more  than  a  hundred  years, 
without  making  the  least  approach  to  those  carried  to  the 
same  countries  from  Europe.  These  and  similar  facts  are 
irreconcilable  with  the  supposition  of  a  common  descent,  and 
lead  to  the  conclusion,  that  different  species  of  Goats,  having 
the  property  of  procreating  with  one  another,  have  produced 
the  domesticated  races. 

The  Goat,  extended  throughout  so  many  climates  and  dis- 
tant countries,  and  subjected  to  conditions  of  life  far  different 
from  those  to  which  his  natural  instincts  adapt  him,  must 
present  himself  to  us  with  great  variations  of  form  and  aspect, 
independently  of  the  diversities  arising  from  those  of  the 
parent  stock.  Sometimes  the  horns  disappear  in  one  or 
both  sexes,  and  in  certain  cases  the  animals  become  poly- 
cerate  ;  sometimes  the  hair  is  long,  and  sometimes  it  is  as 
short  as  in  the  fallow  deer  ;  and  sometimes  the  beard  is  very 
long,  and  sometimes  it  is  rudimental.  The  colour  assumes 
every  variety,  from  sandy- black  to  milk-white,  and  the  size 
and  form  of  the  body  are  greatly  varied.  Of  the  Goats  of 
Central  Asia  the  most  celebrated  and  best  known  in  Europe 
are  those  of  Thibet,  which  are  noted  beyond  all  others  for 
the  soft  and  delicate  wool  they  produce,  and  which  falls  off 
in  the  warmer  season,  affording  the  material  of  one  of  the 
most  beautiful  fabrics  of  the  Eastern  looms.  These  Goats 
are  long  in  the  body,  having  large  falcated  horns,  stout 
limbs,  and  long  glossy  hair,  frequently  a  foot  and  a  half  in 
length,  trailing  almost  to  the  ground.  The  colour  is  fre- 
quently milk-white,  but  more  generally  it  is  brown,  with 
points  of  a  golden  yellow.  The  wool,  tending  of  itself  to  fall 
off  at  a  certain  season,  is  easily  separated  by  means  of  combs, 



while  the  hair  is  left.  It  is  then  spun  by  females,  and  after- 
wards the  threads  are  dyed  of  the  colours  required.  A  shawl 
of  the  finest  fabric  takes  a  year  or  more  in  making.  Four 
persons,  and  in  the  case  of  plain  shawls,  two,  sit  at  a  frame, 
using  numerous  needles.  In  working,  the  rough  part  of  the 
shawl  is  uppermost.  A  superintendent  regulates  the  pattern, 
and  when  the  shawl  is  woven  it  is  carried  to  the  custom- 
house, stamped,  and  a  duty  paid  upon  it  corresponding  to  its 
fineness  and  value.*  In  the  province  of  Cashmere  alone,  it 
is  computed  that  30,000  of  these  beautiful  fabrics  are  manu- 
factured every  year.  They  are  in  universal  demand  over  the 
East  for  their  softness,  durability,  and  the  beauty  of  their 
colours.  The  Goats  which  yield  the  wool  are  chiefly  derived 
from  Thibet ;  Cashmere  itself  being  too  warm  for  the  growth 
of  the  finest  wool.  The  Goats  of  Thibet  and  the  neighbour- 
ing countries  have  been  introduced  into  Europe,  in  the  hope 
of  producing  the  fine  wool  which  gives  them  so  great  a  value 
in  their  native  clime.  In  France  especially,  eager  endeavours 
were  made  to  establish  the  manufacture  of  shawls  similar  to 
those  of  Cashmere  ;  but  from  the  small  quantity  of  wool 
yielded  by  the  Goats,  and  the  great  manual  labour  required, 
the  manufacture  did  not  succeed  as  a  branch  of  national 
industry.  Attempts,  too,  were  made  to  introduce  these  Goats, 
for  the  production  of  wool,  into  England,  but  with  still  less 
prospect  of  a  favourable  result,  from  the  humidity  of  the 
climate.  The  native  -country  of  these  Goats,  it  is  to  be 
observed,  being  vastly  elevated,  is  subject  to  extremes  of 
temperature ;  and  the  growth  of  fine  wool  being  a  natural 
provision  for  keeping  the  animals  warm,  it  would  probably 
soon  cease  to  be  produced  in  more  temperate  climates. 

Stretching  from  the  mountains  of  Thibet  into  the  elevated 
steppes  of  the  interior,  northward  to  the  Arctic  Regions, 
eastward  through  Chinese  Tartary  to  the  ocean,  and  westward 
through  the  vast  dominions  of  Russia  to  the  confines  of  Europe. 

*  Tour  in  the  Upper  Provinces  of  Hindostan. 

14  THE  GOAT. 

the  Goats  of  the  settled  inhabitants  and  nomadic  tribes 
are  in  prodigious  numbers.  These  Goats  are  thickly  covered 
with  long  coarse  hair,  usually  of  a  dark  hue ;  but  in  the  cul- 
tivated countries,  they  vary  greatly  in  colour  and  other  cha- 
racters. In  the  northern  provinces  of  China,  there  are  Goats, 
of  a  small  size,  which  yield  wool  as  abundantly  as  the  sheep 
of  the  same  country.  Extending  over  the  varied  surface  of 
Hindostan,  the  Goats  assume  a  prodigious  diversity  of  colour, 
aspect,  and  form.  Sometimes  they  have  horns,  and  some- 
times they  are  destitute  of  horns ;  sometimes  they  have  long 
pendulous  ears ;  sometimes  they  have  a  short  fur,  like  that 
of  a  fawn,  and  sometimes  fine  silky  hair  falling  in  glossy 
ringlets  on  each  side  of  the  dorsal  line.  The  largest  of  the 
Goats  of  Hindostan  are  brought  from  Caubul,  Thibet,  and  the 
high  lands  of  Persia. 

In  the  Turkish  dominions  in  Asia,  the  races  of  Goats  are 
greatly  varied,  and  often  very  beautiful.  The  Goat  of  Angora 
is  the  native  of  a  district  of  Asia  Minor,  and  is  remarkable 
for  its  long  waving  silky  hair,  which  is  spun  into  threads,  of 
which  a  kind  of  camblet  is  made,  esteemed  beyond  all  other 
cloths  of  the  East  for  its  durability.  The  Goats  of  Angora 
have  been  brought  to  France,  where  they  have  become  readily 
naturalized,  and  do  not  appear  to  be  more  tender  than  the 
common  kinds.  They  have  been  carried  likewise  to  Sweden  ? 
and  other  parts  of  Europe ;  but  it  may  be  believed  that,  after 
a  time,  they  will  lose  that  peculiar  softness  of  the  hair  which 
characterises  them  in  their  native  country.  The  soil  of  An- 
gora is  a  chalky  marl,  which  seems  to  have  the  property  of 
communicating  to  the  animals  that  live  upon  it  a  silky  tex- 
ture of  the  hair.  The  Dog  and  Cat  of  the  same  country  are 
distinguished  by  the  glossy  softness  of  their  fur,  and  are  very 

Of  the  other  Goats  of  Asiatic  Turkey,  one  is  so  peculiar, 
that  it  is  plainly  to  be  referred  to  an  origin  distinct  from  that 
of  the  Common  Goats.  It  is  frequently  termed  the  Syrian 
Goat,  though  it  is  not  confined  to  Syria,  but  extends,  by  the 


countries  of  the  Euphrates,  into  Arabia,  and,  with  some  slight 
change  of  characters,  into  Upper  Egypt  and  Nubia.  This 
kind  of  Goat  was  known  to  the  ancients,  who  mention  it  by 
the  name  of  the  Syrian,  and  sometimes  of  the  Damascus  Goat. 
It  is  generally  without  horns,  has  the  face  singularly  con- 
vex, long  pendulous  ears,  delicate  limbs,  and  short  hair, 
usually  brown.  The  mammae  of  the  females  hang  almost  to 
the  ground.  These  Goats  are  more  docile  than  any  other, 
and,  yielding  a  large  quantity  of  milk,  are  greatly  valued  in 
the  arid  countries  over  which  they  are  spread.  The  same 
form  of  the  Goat  appears  in  Hindostan,  and  doubtless  in 
other  countries  of  Eastern  Asia.  In  Nepaul  a  beautiful  Goat 
is  domesticated,  which  so  much  resembles  the  Syrian  that 
both  appear  to  be  derived  from  a  common  stock.  It  is  of  a 
slender  form,  with  a  convex  face,  without  horns,  and  with 
long  pendulous  ears,  which  are  generally  white,  or  of  a  paler 
tint  than  the  rest  of  the  body. 

Africa  abounds  in  Goats  as  well  as  Sheep.  Along  the 
Barbary  coast,  the  Goats  are  very  fine,  resembling  those  of 
Greece,  and  other  countries  of  the  Mediterranean.  From  this 
country  the  Romans  derived  their  choicest  breeds.  But 
southward  of  the  mountains  which  bound  the  great  basin 
of  the  Mediterranean,  Nature  presents  a  new  aspect,  and 
beyond  the  great  Sahara,  every  living  thing,  up  to  man  him- 
self, seems  changed.  But  of  the  Goats  of  the  interior  we 
learn  little  from  the  casual  notices  of  travellers.  We  are 
told  only  that  Goats  are  very  numerous,  and  often  so  nearly 
resemble  Sheep,  that  the  one  might  be  mistaken  for  the  other. 
On  the  coasts  of  Guinea,  however,  the  cruel  visits  of  Europeans 
have  made  us  acquainted  with  a  race  of  Goats,  which  differ 
from  any  other  known  to  us.  They  are  of  diminutive  size,  very 
pretty,  with  short  pricked-up  ears,  and  generally  with  slender 
falcated  horns.  They  have  been  carried  by  the  slave-ships 
to  the  settlements  of  the  Spaniards  and  Portuguese  in  Ame 
rica,  and  to  the  West  India  Islands,  and  they  have  multiplied 
and  remained  distinct  from  the  other  races. 

1C)  THE  GOAT. 

Of  the  Goats  of  Europe,  the  most  varied  and  beautiful  are 
those  which  inhabit  the  countries  of  the  Mediterranean. 
They  have  generally  horns,  long  flowing  beards,  and  hair  of 
divers  colours,  from  inilk-white  to  black.  Those  of  Greece 
and  the  Islands  of  the  Archipelago  have  been  in  esteem  from 
early  times.  The  writers  of  Greece  refer  to  the  Achaian,  as 
a  breed  greatly  valued  The  Romans  cultivated  the  Goats 
largely,  and  their  rustic  writers  give  us  numerous  details 
regarding  the  modes  of  rearing  and  treating  them.  In 
modern  Italy,  Goats  are  very  numerous,  especially  in  Cala- 
bria and  the  mountainous  countries.  They  abound  likewise 
in  Spain  and  Portugal,  where  they  are  cultivated  chiefly  for 
their  milk,  and  the  flesh  of  the  kids.  The  Goats  there  are 
to  be  seen  driven  into  the  cities  in  the  morning,  and  milked 
at  the  doors  of  the  houses.  In  France,  there  are  consider- 
able numbers  of  Goats,  but  of  no  peculiar  beauty  of  race.  A 
strong  prejudice  exists  against  them  on  account  of  the  injury 
they  cause  to  the  vines  and  forests.  The  district  in  France 
most  celebrated  for  Goats  is  the  Canton  of  Mont  d'Or,  where, 
in  a  space  not  exceeding  two  leagues  at  its  largest  diameter, 
upwards  of  eleven  thousand  are  kept,  chiefly  for  the  supply 
of  the  city  of  Lyons  with  cheese.  In  the  northern  countries 
of  Europe,  Goats  are  in  considerable  numbers  ;  but  for  the 
most  part  they  are  inferior  in  size  and  beauty  to  those  of  the 
countries  of  the  Mediterranean.  In  the  heathy  mountains 
they  become  of  small  size,  and  are  covered  with  a  shaggy 
coat  of  long  brown  hair.  Sometimes  they  have  escaped  from 
servitude,  and  become  as  wild  and  difficult  to  be  approached 
as  the  Deer  of  the  same  countries. 

The  Goat,  though  obeying  the  law  to  which  all  the  domesti- 
cated animals  are  subject,  and  presenting  itself  under  a  great 
variety  of  aspect,  retains  many  of  the  characters  and  habits 
which  distinguish  it  in  the  state  of  liberty.  It  is  lively, 
ardent,  robust,  capable  of  enduring  the  most  intense  cold,  and 
seemingly  little  incommoded  by  the  extremes  of  heat.  It  is 
wild,  irregular,  and  erratic  in  its  movements.  It  is  bold  in 


its  own  defence,  putting  itself  in  an  attitude  of  defiance  when 
provoked  by  animals,  however  larger  than  itself.  Its  horns 
turning  outward  at  the  points,  it  rises  when  it  fights  upon  its 
hinder  legs,  and  throwing  the  weight  of  its  body  sidewise, 
endeavours  to  maim  its  enemy  by  oblique  strokes  of  the  horns. 
The  Ram,  on  the  other  hand,  whose  horns  are  turned  inward, 
cannot  use  this  method  of  attack,  but  rushes  blindly  upon  his 
enemy,  endeavouring  to  stun  him  by  the  violence  of  the  shock  ; 
while  the  Bull  must  lower  his  head  to  the  very  ground,  in 
order  that  he  may  receive  his  adversary  on  the  points  of  his 
horns.  A  dog  that  will  despise  a  ram,  and  assail  a  bull,  is 
frequently  cowed  by  the  peculiar  mode  of  attack  and  bold  de- 
meanour of  the  Goat.  The  domesticated  Goat,  like  those  of 
the  wild  species,  is  capable  of  nicely  balancing  its  body;  and 
its  hoofs  being  widely  cleft,  moveable,  and  sharp  at  the  exte- 
rior edges,  it  possesses  the  faculty  of  fixing  itself  on  the  shelv- 
ing edges  of  rocks,  and  of  leaping  from  crag  to  crag.  The 
Arabs  teach  a  curious  feat  to  their  Goats,  which  manifests  the 
wonderful  power  in  the  animals  of  balancing  the  body.  A 
cylinder  of  wood  is  placed  on  the  ground,  on  the  top  of  which 
the  Goat  places  all  his  feet ;  another  piece  is  then  added,  on 
which  the  animal  likewise  mounts  ;  and  then  another^  and 
another,  until  he  stands  at  the  summit  of  the  column.  When 
two  Goats  meet  on  a  narrow  ledge  of  rock,  or  the  top  of  a 
high  wall,  the  one  crouches  down,  that  the  other  may  pass 
over  his  body,  The  Goat,  obeying  his  pristine  instincts,  de- 
lights in  high  places,  climbs  to  the  tops  of  walls  and  houses, 
and  leaps  over  the  barriers  intended  to  confine  him.  When 
kept  in  herds,  individuals  continually  stray  from  the  flock, 
and  station  themselves  on  the  heights.  In  feeding,  the  flock 
gradually  ascends  to  the  higher  grounds,  preferring  the 
shrubs  and  aromatic  plants  of  the  mountains  to  the  richer 
herbage  of  the  plains.  Goats  will  eat  of  many  bitter  and 
narcotic  plants  which  other  animals  reject,  nay,  of  some 
which  are  deemed  poisonous,  as  the  hemlock  and  foxglove. 
They  gnaw  the  bark,  and  crop  the  tender  shoots,  of  shrubs 


18  THE  GOAT. 

and  trees ;   and  hence  they  are  the  pest  of  the   cultivated 
country,  destroying  the  hedges,  the  woods,  and  orchards  of 
the  planter.     In  the  countries  of  the  vine,  they  are  regarded 
as  enemies  whose  trespasses  must  be  curbed  by  the  severest 
means.     When  mingled  in  the  flock  with  Sheep,  the  Goats 
invariably  assume  the  guidance  of  their  more  timorous  com- 
panions, leading  them  from  the  richer  pastures  to  the  more 
steril  hills.     When  the  Goat  is  kept  apart  from  the  flock,  he 
becomes  attached  to  his  protectors,  familiar  and  inquisitive, 
finding  his  way  into  every  place,  and  examining  whatever  is 
new  to  him.     He  is  eminently  social,  attaching  himself  to 
other  animals,  however  different  from  himself.     He  is  fre- 
quently kept  in  stables,  under  the  belief  that  he  contributes 
to  the  health  of  the  horses.     The  effect,  if  any,  is  probably 
to  be  ascribed  to  his  familiar  habits,  it  being  known  that 
horses  in  their  stalls  are  fond  of  companions  to  cheer  their 
solitude.     The  Goat  is  frequently  attached  to  the  little  car- 
riages of  children,  and  appears  to  delight  in  the  gay  equipage, 
and  capricious  commands,  of  the  youthful  charioteers.     Two 
children,  in  London,  having  escaped  from  their  nurse,  seated 
themselves  in  their  tiny  vehicle,  and  set  off,  whip  in  hand, 
along  the  Strand,     The  Goat,  apparently  enjoying  the  frolic, 
carried  them  full  tilt  through  the  most  crowded  parts  of  the 
city,  nicely  avoiding  every  obstacle,  and  foiling  every  attempt 
of  the  passengers  to  arrest  him.     Having  satiated  himself 
and  his  young  masters  with  their  morning's  drive,  he  brought 
them  back  to  their  home  in  safety. 

The  female  of  the  Goat  produces,  in  the  natural  state,  in 
spring  ;  but  when  food  is  supplied  to  her,  she  will  receive  the 
male  at  almost  any  season.  She  goes  with  young  upwards 
of  twenty  weeks,  and  is  very  prolific,  generally  producing 
two  at  a  birth,  and  often  breeding  twice  in  the  year.  The 
Kids  are  exceedingly  hardy,  and  the  most  sportive  of  animals. 
The  mother  watches  them  with  tender  care,  protecting  them 
from  every  assailant.  She  yields  a  large  quantity  of  milk  in 
proportion  to  her  size,  a  common  produce  being  two  quarts  in 



the  day  for  five  or  six  months.  Her  milk  is  viscid  and  nourish- 
ing, little  productive  of  oil,  but  abundant  in  the  matter  of 
cheese.  She  allows  herself  to  be  milked  without  reluctance, 
and  readily  adopts  other  animals,  and  nurses  them  as  if  they 
were  her  own.  When  she  has  suckled  such  animals  as  the 
foal  and  the  calf,  it  is  interesting  to  observe  how  she  attaches 
herself  to  them,  and  still  watches  over  their  safety,  when 
their  own  habits  cause  them  to  separate  themselves  from  her. 
In  India,  the  children  of  the  Hindoos,  who  have  lost  their 
parent,  are  frequently  suckled  by  Goats.  Travellers  report 
that,  in  the  countries  of  the  Negroes,  this  is  very  frequent. 
The  Goat  comes  to  the  cradle  where  the  infants  lie,  and  ma- 
nifests the  utmost  tenderness  towards  them  ;  nay,  when  they 
are  able  to  walk  and  play,  she  does  not  forget  her  maternal 
cares,  but  follows  them  as  if  to  keep  them  from  harm. 

The  Goat,  besides  the  milk  of  the  female,  affords  hair, 
which  is  shorn  from  the  body,  and  made  into  certain  coarse 
fabrics  of  the  nature  of  camblets.  Of  this  substance  are 
formed  the  tents  of  the  Arabs,  of  the  Turcomans,  and  of  all 
the  migratory  tribes  of  the  Tartar  countries.  The  hair  of 
the  Goat  is  likewise  fabricated  into  ropes.  With  such  ropes, 
the  hardy  natives  of  St  Kilda  used  to  swing  themselves  over 
the  dreadful  precipices  of  their  coasts,  in  search  of  the  eggs 
of  sea-fowls.  The  skin  of  the  Goat  is  made  into  leather, 
which  is  more  useful  and  durable  than  that  of  Sheep.  It 
forms  the  fine  Morocco  leather  of  commerce,  and  is  largely 
used,, for  sandals,  boots,  gaiters,  and  similar  parts  of  dress. 
In  the  countries  of  the  East,  the  skin  is  likewise  made  into 
bags,  for  containing  water,  wine,  and  oil ;  and  on  many  rivers, 
as  the  Nile  and  Euphrates,  it  is  made  into  bags,  for  floating* 
the  inhabitants  across  the  stream.  The  skin  of  the  kid  is  in 
universal  demand  for  the  manufacture  of  gloves.  The  flesh 
of  the  kid,  when  very  young,  is  nearly  as  delicate  as  that  of 
the  lamb.  The  flesh  of  the  older  Goats  is  hard  and  ill- 
flavoured,  and  therefore  always  gives  place  to  that  of  the 
Sheep,  as  countries  become  cultivated. 

20  THE  GOAT. 

In  the  British  Islands,  the  number  of  Goats  has  been  con- 
tinually diminishing,  with  the  extension  of  sheep,  and  the 
progress  of  agriculture.  In  the  Highlands  of  Scotland,  they 
used  to  be  very  numerous,  but  are  now  confined  to  a  few  of 
the  remoter  districts,  where  their  milk  is  employed  for  the 
making  of  cheese.  Wales  long  abounded  in  Goats  :  they  are 
now  in  small  and  decreasing  numbers,  and  the  finer  and 
larger  kinds  have  been  lost.  But  in  Ireland,  there  are  still 
great  numbers  of  Goats,  scattered  throughout  the  country, 
and  kept  by  the  poorer  inhabitants  for  supplying  them  with 
milk.  The  Goats  of  Ireland  are  many  of  them  very  fine  :  those 
of  Kerry  and  the  other  mountain  districts,  resemble  the  best 
Goats  of  the  Mediterranean,  and  even  exceed  them  in  size. 

In  this  country,  it  is  chiefly  for  the  supply  of  the  domestic 
dairy  that  the  Goat  can  be  regarded  as  of  economical  value. 
This  arises  from  the  want  of  demand  for  the  flesh,  even  for 
that  of  the  kid,  which  is  so  delicate.  Were  it  otherwise,  the 
Goat  could  be  cultivated  in  the  mountainous  parts  of  the 
country  with  perhaps  greater  advantage  than  the  Sheep. 
The  hair  of  the  Goat  is  indeed  less  valuable  than  wool,  yet 
the  skin  is  of  greater  value  than  that  of  the  Sheep.  The 
animals,  too,  are  more  hardy,  and  exempt  from  those  fatal 
diseases  which  yearly  destroy  so  great  a  proportion  of  the 
Sheep  of  the  higher  countries.  The  Goat,  too,  is  more  easily 
maintained,  especially  in  countries  of  heath,  and  the  females 
are  more  prolific.  But  an  insurmountable  objection  exists  to 
the  extension  of  the  husbandry  of  the  Goat,  from  the  want  of 
all  demand  for  the  flesh  of  the  fattened  animal.  Yet  if  the 
caprice  of  taste  could  be  reconciled  to  the  use  of  the  kid,  the 
Goat  could  be  kept  for  the  rearing  of  her  young  as  a  substi- 
tute for  the  house-lambs,  now  produced  at  so  much  cost. 
The  females,  in  this  case,  «could  be  made  to  yield  their  kids  at 
any  season.  They  could  be  kept  in  houses  and  fed  on  the 
commonest  hay,  with  occasional  portions  of  turnips  or  green 
food  of  any  kind.  They  could  be  maintained  at  less  expense 
than  the  Sheep  ;  and  as  they  are  more  prolific,  and  yield  a 



large  supply  of  milk  after  the  kids  are  taken  away,  the  profit 
would  certainly  be  greater  than  from  the  ewe  under  the  same 
circumstances.  But  as  the  hahits  of  a  people,  with  respect  to 
food,  cannot  without  great  difficulty  be  changed,  it  is  probable 
that,  in  these  Islands,  the  Goat  will  continue  to  be  only  par- 
tially cultivated,  as  now,  for  the  milk  of  the  female.  But  for 
this  purpose  its  value,  as  a  source  of  household  economy,  is 
much  greater  than  many  imagine.  Families  who  keep  a 
single  cow  would  find  a  Goat  or  two  always  useful,  as  sup- 
plying milk  when  that  of  the  other  was  wanting ;  and  expe- 
rience shews,  that  the  humbler  cottagers  would  derive  a  profit 
from  having  one  or  two  of  these  animals,  which  could  be 
maintained  on  food  which  the  cow  would  reject.  Persons 
even  in  large  towns  could,  by  means  of  the  Goat,  readily  sup- 
ply themselves  with  milk  far  superior  to  that  which  they  can 
now  obtain  ;  and  it  is  surprising  that  a  method  so  simple,  of 
avoiding  the  frauds  too  much  practised  in  the  case  of  this 
kind  of  food,  should  be  neglected.  Goats  bear  well  the 
motion  and  confinement  of  shipboard,  and  are  better  fitted 
for  supplying  milk  on  sea-voyages  than  any  other  animal. 



The  OVINE  FAMILY,  it  has  been  seen,  differs  so  little  in 
conformation  from  the  Caprine,  that  zoological  characters  can 
scarcely  be  found  to  discriminate  them.  Yet,  in  every  coun- 
try where  these  animals  are  known,  they  are  separated  in 
popular  language,  shewing  that  each  possesses  habitudes 
and  external  characters  sufficient  to  distinguish  it  from  the 
other.  Sheep  have  the  bodies  more  massive,  and  deviate 
more  from  the  Antelopian  type,  than  Goats  ;  the  horns,  where 
they  exist,  are  generally  more  angular,  furrowed,  and  spiral ; 
and  the  rams  are  destitute  of  the  hircine  odour.  Of  the  spe- 


cies  of  true  Sheep  which  have  been  found  in  the  state  of  na- 
ture, those  most  generally  admitted  into  zoological  systems 
are  : — 

1.  Ovis  AMMON,  the  Argali  of  Asia. 

2.  Ovis  MONTANA,  the  Rocky-Mountain  Sheep. 

3.  Ovis  TRAGELAPHUS,  the  Bearded  Argali. 

4.  Ovis  MUSIMON,  the  Musmon. 


The  ARGALI  of  ASIA  is  somewhat  less  than  the  size  of  a  stag. 
He  has  enormous  horns,  measuring  about  a  foot  in  circum- 
ference at  the  base,  and  from  three  to  four  feet  in  length, 
triangular,  rising  from  the  summit  of  the  head  so  as  nearly 
to  touch  at  the  root,  ascending,  stretching  out  laterally,  and 
bending  forward  at  the  point.  He  has  a  fur  of  short  hair, 
covering  a  coat  of  soft  white  wool.  The  colour  of  the  fur 
externally  is  brown,  becoming  brownish-gray  in  winter :  there 
is  a  buff-coloured  streak  along  the  back,  and  a  large  spot  of 
a  lighter  buff  colour  pn  the  haunch,  surrounding  and  in- 
cluding the  tail.  The  female  differs  from  the  male  in  being 
smaller,  in  having  the  horns  more  slender  and  straight,  and 
in  the  absence  of  the  disc  on  the  haunch.  In  both  sexes  the 
tail  is  very  short,  the  eye-lashes  are  whitish,  and  the  hair 
beneath  the  throat  is  longer  than  on  other  parts  of  the  body. 

These  creatures  inhabit  the  mountains  and  elevated  plains 
of  Asia,  from  the  Himmalaya  Mountains  westward  to  the 
Caucasus,  and  eastward  and  northward  to  Kamschatka  and 
the  Ocean.  They  are  agile  and  strong,  but  very  timid,  shun- 
ning the  least  appearance  of  danger  :  their  motion  is  zigzag, 
and  they  stop  in  their  course  to  gaze  upon  their  pursuer,  after 
the  manner  of  the  domestic  Sheep.  They  are  usually  found 
in  very  small  flocks ;  and,  at  the  rutting  season,  the  males 
fight  desperately,  using  their  horns  and  forehead  in  the  man- 
ner of  the  common  ram.  They  are  hunted  by  the  people  of 
the  countries  for  their  flesh,  which  is  esteemed  to  be  savoury, 
and  for  their  skins,  which  are  made  into  clothing.  In  autumn, 
after  having  pastured  during  the  summer  on  the  mountains 

24  THE  SHEEP. 

and  secluded  valleys,  they  are  fat,  and  in  request ;  but  as 
winter  advances,  and  they  are  forced  to  descend  from  the 
mountains  in  search  of  food,  they  lose  their  plumpness,  and 
are  sought  after  only  for  their  skins.  When  taken  young 
they  are  easily  tamed,  but  the  old  ones  never  resign  their 
natural  wildness. 

The  ROCKY-MOUNTAIN  SHEEP,  or  Argali  of  America,  is 
allied  to  this  species,  or  identical  with  it.  It  inhabits  the 
loftiest  mountain  chains  of  North  America.  It  was  long 
ago  described  by  Spanish  writers  as  the  Sheep  of  California, 
and  is  familiar  to  the  Indians  and  fur-traders  of  Canada. 
It  equals  or  surpasses  the  Asiatic' Argali  in  size,  and  is  taller 
than  the  largest  of  our  Domestic  Sheep.  Its  horns  are  very 
large,  approaching,  but  not  touching,  one  another  at  the  base. 
The  horns  of  the  female  are  small,  and  slightly  curved.  The 
fur  is  of  a  reddish-brown  colour,  but  becomes  paler  in  winter, 
and  in  spring  the  old  rams  are  nearly  white.  The  face  and 
nose  are  white,  and  the  tail  and  buttocks  present  the  buff- 
coloured  disc  which  distinguishes  the  male  of  the  Asiatic 
species.  They  collect  in  flocks,  under  the  guidance  of  a 
leader.  They  pasture  on  the  steepest  parts  of  the  moun- 
tains, and  on  the  approach  of  winter  descend  into  the  plains. 
They  are  wild  and  timid,  betaking  themselves  on  the  least 
alarm  to  the  summits  of  the  mountains.  They  are  pursued 
and  killed  by  the  Indians  for  their  flesh  and  skins,  and  have 
never  been  subjected  to  domestication. 

The  BEARDED  ARGALI  inhabits  the  inland  steeps  of  Barbary 
and  the  mountains  of  Egypt.  It  is  larger  than  a  fallow  deer, 
and  nearly  equal  in  size  to  a  stag.  The  horns  are  thirteen 
inches  in  circumference  at  the  base,  approaching  near  to  one 
another  on  the  top  of  the  head,  angular,  black,  bending  back- 
wards and  downwards,  and  about  two  feet  in  length.  The 
hair  on  the  lower  part  of  the  cheeks  and  under-jaw  is  long, 
forming  a  divided  beard.  The  under  part  of  the  neck  and 
shoulders  is  covered  by  coarse  hair  ;  on  the  upper  part  of  the 
neck,  and  especially  at  the  withers,  the  hair  is  long  and 


bristly,  forming  a  mane  ;  the  knees  are  covered  by  long 
dense  hairs,  as  if  to  protect  them  when  the  animal  kneels  ; 
the  hair  on  the  rest  of  the  body  is  short,  and  underneath  the 
whole  is  the  rudiment  of  a  soft  fine  wool.  It  is  a  gentle  and 
petulant  creature,  fond  of  ascending  to  high  places,  as  the 
roofs  of  houses,  capable  of  running  swiftly,  and  of  bounding 
with  prodigious  force. 

The  MUSMON  inhabits  the  lofty  regions  of  the  Caucasus 
and  ancient  Taurus,  and  still  lingers  in  the  islands  of  Crete 
and  Cyprus,  and  the  mountains  of  Greece.  It  is  smaller  than 
the  Argali.  In  the  male  the  horns  are  two  feet  in  length  ; 
in  the  female  they  are  often  wanting.  They  are  very  thick, 
and  they  turn  inward  at  the  points,  in  which  respect  they 
differ  from  the  horns  of  the  Argali,  which  bend  outward. 
The  fur  consists  of  a  brownish  hair,  concealing  a  short,  fine, 
gray-coloured  wool,  which  covers  all  the  body. 

The  Musmons,  although  resembling  the  Argalis,  are  small- 
er and  less  powerful,  and  inhabit,  apparently,  a  lower  range 
of  mountains.  They  are  gregarious,  assembling  in  large 
flocks  during  the  summer  months ;  but,  at  the  rutting  season, 
fierce  contests  take  place  between  the  rams,  and  the  herd 
divides  into  smaller  bands,  consisting  of  a  male  and  several 
females.  These  animals  are  readily  domesticated,  and  exhi- 
bit all  the  habits  of  the  Domestic  Sheep,  although,  in  the  first 
generation  at  least,  they  do  not  entirely  resign  their  natural 
wildness.  They  breed  freely  with  the  Domestic  Sheep,  and 
the  offspring  is  fruitful.  Pliny  mentions  such  alliances  as  be- 
ing common,  and  states  that  the  progeny  were  termed  Umbri. 

A  species,  or  variety,  termed  by  M.  G.  St  Hilaire,  Mou- 
flon  d'Afrique,  appears  to  resemble  the  Musmon  of  Asia 
and  Europe.  It  has  been  found  on  the  mountains  bordering 
upon  the  plain  of  the  Nile.  It  is  about  the  size  of  a  com- 
mon ram.  The  horns  are  two  feet  long,  and  eleven  inches 
in  circumference  at  the  base,  diverging  outwards,  so  that  the 
extremities  are  about  nineteen  inches  from  one  another. 

Another  species  of  Musmon,  or  an  animal  nearly  allied  to 

26  THE  311JSK1'. 

it,  has  been  found  in  Nepaul,  both  on  the  Indian  and  Thibe- 
tian  sides  of  the  snowy  crests  of  the  Himmalayas.  It  is  de- 
scribed as  having  horns  twenty-two  inches  along  the  curve, 
diverging  greatly,  but  scarcely  spiral  ;  and  as  having  fur  of 
a  bluish-gray  colour  inclining  to  red,  the  hairs  concealing  a 
scanty  fleece  of  fine  soft  wool.* 

These  are  the  wild  species  of  Ovidse  which  have  as  yet  been 
described.  But  there  is  just  reason  to  believe  that  others 
exist,  although  as  yet  too  imperfectly  known  to  be  placed  in 
the  catalogues  of  naturalists.  It  is  certain  that  Wild  Sheep, 
approaching  even  more  to  the  characters  of  certain  domesti- 
cated races,  exist  in  the  immense  countries  bordering  on  the 
Hindoo  Koosh,  namely,  Caubul,  and  the  countries  of  the  Tur- 
comans, Persians,  and  others,  towards  the  Caspian.  One  of 
these  is  described  by  Mr  Fraser,  in  his  interesting  travels  in 
these  wild  countries,  as  having  been  killed  by  the  hunters  of 
his  party,  and  as  being  a  fine  animal,  equal  in  size,  and  supe- 
rior in  strength,  to  the  largest  of  the  common  races.  It  pro- 
bably resembles  a  race  of  Sheep  widely  domesticated  in  the 
same  countries,  which  has  by  some  been  termed  the  Persian 
breed,  but  which  is  to  be  distinguished  from  another  race,  to 
be  afterwards  referred  to,  found  in  the  same  country,  and 
likewise  termed  Persian.  The  Sheep  in  question  are  covered 
with  a  very  coarse  hairy  fur  of  a  gray  colour.  Their  horns  .are 
bent  outward  in  the  manner  of  the  Argali,  and,  what  is  worthy 
of  note,  the  head  entirely  resembles  that  of  the  Ram,  as  it  is 
depicted  on  Eastern  sculptures.  This  domesticated  race  is 
very  widely  diffused,  extending  to  the  Tartar  countries  inland ; 
to  Arabia,  where  it  forms  the  most  common  breed  of  the  Be- 
douins ;  and  across  the  Indus  over  a  great  part  of  Hindostan. 

Ancient  writers,  too,  speak  of  Wild  Sheep,  but  with  notices 
so  indistinct,  that  no  conclusions  can  be  founded  upon  them. 
It  is  not  certainly  known  whether  Wild  Sheep  existed  in  the 
west  of  Europe.  Boetius,  a  chronicler  extremely  credulous, 

*  Proceedings  of  the  Zoological  Society,  and  the  Asiatic  Transactions. 


yet  worthy  of  trust  as  to  what  he  says  he  heard  or  saw, 
mentions  the  existence  of  a  race  of  Wild  Sheep  in  the  deso- 
late island  of  St  Kilda.  He  describes  them  as  being  larger 
than  the  largest  goats,  and  as  having  tails  hanging  to  the 
ground,  and  horns  more  bulky  than  those  of  the  ox ;  and,  ac- 
cording to  Mr  Pennant,  an  animal  corresponding  with  this 
description  is  figured  on  a  bas-relief  taken  from  the  wall  of 
Antoninus,  near  the  modern  city  of  Glasgow. 

Looking  at  the  vast  diversities  in  the  Sheep  of  different 
and  distant  countries,  and  the  constancy  with  which  certain 
races  preserve  their  distinctive  characters  under  the  same 
conditions  of  temperature,  food,  and  treatment,  we  are 
conducted  to  the  conclusion,  that  Wild  Sheep  proper  to 
different  countries  have  been  domesticated  by  the  inhabi- 
tants ;  and,  accordingly,  that  the  domesticated  races  are 
not  of  one,  but  of  various  species,  having  the  property  of 
procreating  with  one  another  in  the  reclaimed  state.  The 
same  hypothesis,  we  have  seen,  has  been  applied  to  the  Goat, 
there  being  no  other  which  satisfactorily  explains  the  per- 
manent differences  which  races  of  those  animals  exhibit 
under  the  same  conditions  from  age  to  age.  A  like  suppo- 
sition, we  shall  see  in  the  sequel,  must  be  made  in  the  case 
of  the  Dog,  in  order  to  enable  us  to  account  for  those  great 
variations  which  the  domesticated  races  present  in  almost 
every  country.  The  opinion,  wre  shall  see,  that  may  most 
reasonably  be  entertained  regarding  the  origin  of  the  Do- 
mestic Dogs,  is,  that  they  are  descended  from  the  Wolf  and 
other  Canidse  yet  found  in  the  wild  state ;  and  there  is  no 
more  difficulty  in  assuming  the  derivation  of  the  Sheep  than 
of  the  Dog  from  species  yet  existing  in  the  state  of  nature, 
since  the  habits  and  forms  of  the  Argalis  and  Musmons  as 
nearly  resemble  the  cultivated  Sheep  as  the  Wolf  and  other 
species  of  Canis  resemble  the  common  breeds  of  Dogs.  Even 
the  blood  of  the  Goat,  though  of  a  species  admitted,  under 
every  zoological  system,  to  be  distinct,  has  certainly  been 

28  THE  SHEEP. 

mixed  with  that  of  the  Sheep  of  various  countries.  Sheep 
and  Goats,  indeed,  when  left  free  to  select  their  own  mates, 
do  not  breed  together,  but  the  union  is  readily  produced 
when  the  males  of  one  species  only  are  present  at  the  rutting 
season ;  and  it  has  been  long  known  to  shepherds,  though 
questioned  by  naturalists,  that  the  resulting  progeny  is  fruit- 
ful. Breeds  of  this  mixed  race  are  numerous  in  the  north 
of  Europe,  and  can  scarcely  have  failed  to  take  place  in  every 
country  where  Sheep  and  Goats  are  herded  together. 

We  may  believe,  then,  that  the  Domesticated  Sheep,  the 
Ovis  ARIES  of  naturalists,  is  a  factitious  species,  and  not  one 
which  has  been  called  forth  in  the  natural  state.  A  species 
of  this  kind,  however,  having  been  formed,  by  whatever  mix- 
tures of  blood,  the  members  of  it  must  have  been  subject,  like 
every  other  family  mixed  or  pure,  to  vary  under  the  influence 
of  external  agencies  ;  and  thus,  independently  of  the  differ- 
ences produced  by  differences  of  origin,  there  are  those  which 
have  been  produced  by  climate,  food,  and  domestication,  giv- 
ing rise  to  those  great  varieties  which,  even  under  the  nar- 
rowest geographical  limits,  present  themselves. 

From  whatever  sources  derived,  these  valuable  animals, 
we  know,  have  been  subjected  to  servitude  from  the  earliest 
times.  The  most  ancient  written  records  of  the  Southern 
Asiatics  refer  to  the  Domesticated  Sheep ;  and  he  is  figured 
on  the  oldest  monuments  of  the  past,  which  time  has  left  us, 
in  Western  Asia.  On  the  sculptured  remains  of  Egypt, 
the  Sheep  continually  appears,  and  of  a  form  which  we  can 
identify  with  that  of  the  same  animal  still  existing.  The 
Sacred  Writings  record  its  existence  along  with  the  first 
known  inhabitants  of  the  earth ;  and  the  flocks  and  herds  of 
the  wandering  Shepherds  of  the  East,  are  described  with  a 
minuteness,  which  enables  us  to  compare  the  pursuits  of  the 
most  ancient  people  with  those  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  same 
countries  at  the  present  hour.  Scarcely  any  thing  seems  to 
have  changed  in  the  habits  of  men  in  those  countries  of  pas- 


toral  tribes.  Where  Abraham  pitched  his  tent,  with  his 
"  sheep  and  oxen,''  and  "  asses  and  camels," — where  he  sat 
at  the  door  of  his  tent, — where  the  stone  was  rolled  from  the 
wells  from  which  his  maidens  drew  water, — there  the  Arab 
or  the  wandering  Turcoman  encamps,  and  all  the  scene  is 
like  a  vivid  panorama  of  the  past.  In  the  case  of  the  present 
people  of  the  Desert, — their  tents,  their  journeyings,  their 
household  cares,  their  flocks,  their  camels,  their  wells, — all 
inform  us  with  what  a  matchless  fidelity  the  Sacred  History 
has  been  told. 

Of  the  Sheep,  we  learn  that  its  fleece  was  used  by  the 
Shepherds  of  Syria  for  the  purposes  to  which  it  is  now  ap- 
plied, and  that  it  was  shorn  from  the  skin,  "  Then  Jacob 
rose  up  and  set  his  sons  and  his  wives  upon  camels  ;  and  he 
carried  away  all  his  cattle,  and  all  his  goods  which  he  had 
gotten,  the  cattle  of  his  getting  which  he  had  got  in  Padan- 
aram,  for  to  go  to  Isaac  his  father  in  the  land  of  Canaan  : 
And  Laban  went  to  shear  his  sheep."  *  "  And  Judah  was 
comforted,  and  went  up  unto  his  sheep-shearers  at  Zim- 
nath."t  And  at  a  long  subsequent  period,  when  the  de- 
scendants of  Judah  had  become  a  nation,  and  acquired  the 
Land  of  Promise,  the  season  of  sheep- shearing  is  referred  to 
as  one  of  rustic  labour.  Further  the  wool  was  woven  into 
cloth,  which  infers  an  advancement  beyond  the  ruder  stages 
of  the  arts.  The  mere  barbarian  uses,  for  raiment,  the  skin 
of  the  Sheep  or  Goat,  with  its  covering  of  hair,  as  was  prac- 
tised by  the  Scythians,  by  the  Gauls  and  Britons,  and  at  the 
present  day  by  the  Kalmuks  and  other  nomadic  people  of 
Asia,  and  by  the  Hottentots  and  other  inhabitants  of  Southern 
Africa.  When  cloth  is  made  by  barbarous  tribes,  it  is  simply 
by  pressing  the  wool  together  in  a  moist  state,  so  as  to  form 
felt,  as  we  yet  see  done  in  the  case  of  hats  and  beavers ;  by 

*  Genesis,  xxxi.  17,  18,  19  :  And  it  is  worthy  of  note,  that  the  undergoing 
of  a  period  of  servitude  to  acquire  a  wife,  recorded  in  the  history  to  which 
these  passages  refer,  exists  at  the  present  day  amongst  a  wild  trihe  in  the  heart 
of  India,  which  is  designated  by  the  term  Laban-a. 

t  Genesis,  xxxviii.  12. 


which  means  the  fibres  adhere,  and  become  intertwined  in 
such  a  manner  as  to  form  a  species  of  cloth  ;  and  of  this 
simple  manufacture  were  the  woollen  garments  of  the  rude 
people  in  the  north  of  Asia  and  Europe.  The  use  of  the  dis- 
taif  and  the  shuttle  infers  a  considerable  advancement  in  the 
arts.  Yet  at  this  stage,  we  know,  by  indubitable  records, 
the  wandering  tribes  of  Syria  had  arrived,  long  ere  the  golden 
fleece  had  been  acquired  by  Jason,  or  ere  Minerva  had  com- 
municated to  her  Athenians  the  gifts  of  spinning  and  weaving. 
And  besides  the  spindle  and  the  simple  loom  of  the  East,  the 
Syrian  Shepherds  had,  from  early  times,  acquired  the  know- 
ledge of  the  art  of  communicating  to  their  cloths  and  gar- 
ments those  beautiful  colours  which  so  much  please  the  eye. 
The  fondness  of  a  parent,  and  his  gift  of  a  many-coloured 
garment  to  a  favoured  child,  gave  rise  to  a  tale  which,  in 
beauty  and  pathos,  cannot  be  surpassed;  and  even  yet, 
amongst  the  people  of  India,  the  practice  exists  of  giving  to 
a  favourite  boy  a  garment  of  many  colours,  as  a  charm 
against  evil.  The  flesh  of  the  Sheep  was  likewise  used,  but 
with  that  temperance  which  still  distinguishes  the  people  of 
those  countries  in  the  use  of  animal  food.  It  was  from  the 
milk  of  their  flocks  that  they  derived  the  chief  part  of  their 
daily  food.  They  understood  the  art  of  curdling  the  milk  of 
their  goats  and  ewes ;  and  cheese  and  butter,  with  fat  and 
honey,  formed  the  simple  repasts  of  these  early  shepherds, 
as  of  the  Kurds,  the  Turcomans,  and  Arabs,  of  the  present 

Domestication  renders  the  Sheep  more  suited  to  our  uses, 
but  diminishes  his  physical  powers,  and  adapts  him  to  another 
condition  of  life.  When  once  completely  subjugated,  he  never 
again  appears  to  acquire  the  faculties  which  fit  him  for  a  life 
of  liberty.  Give  him  afterwards  what  freedom  we  may,  he 
remains  more  or  less  dependent  upon  us,  and  would  fall  a 
prey  to  wolves,  and  the  swifter  ferse,  were  he  not  under 
human  protection.  Yet  he  is  not  the  stupid  and  insensible 
creature  which  some  represent  him  to  be.  When  entirely 


subdued,  indeed,  his  natural  instincts  are  blunted,  and  he 
loses  the  providence  and  sense  of  danger  which  are  natural 
to  him  ;  but  when  left  in  a  state  of  comparative  liberty,  as  on 
the  mountains  of  Scotland  and  Wales,  he  shews  that,  though 
comparatively  feeble,  he  is  not  without  the  power  of  guard- 
ing himself  from  danger.  When  attacked  by  dogs  or  foxes, 
the  flock  forms  a  circle,  with  the  rams  in  front,  presenting  a 
face  to  the  enemy.  The  rams  rush  forward  on  the  assailant, 
and  strike  him  with  their  powerful  horns  ;  and  in  their  con- 
tests with  one  another  for  the  possession  of  the  females,  they 
fight  with  amazing  determination,  stunning  one  another  with 
the  violence  of  the  shocks.  The  Sheep  is  an  exceedingly  hardy 
animal  with  respect  to  temperature,  his  close  covering  of  wool 
defending  him  well  from  cold.  He  foresees  an  impending  fall 
of  snow,  and  takes  shelter  from  its  violence.  When  buried 
underneath  the  snow,  as  he  sometimes  is,  he  often  survives 
for  many  days,  and  even  weeks,  and  may  be  digged  up  with- 
out injury,  provided  he  have  escaped  suffocation  ;  for  in  such* 
a  situation,  his  thick  fleece,  which,  as  well  as  the  snow,  is  a 
slow  conductor  of  heat,  retains  the  natural  warmth  of  the  body 
in  such  a  degree  as  to  preserve  life.  The  ewe  bears  that  affec- 
tion to  her  offspring  which  Nature  has  imprinted,  as  it  were, 
on  the  heart  of  every  animal.  Should  mishap  befal  her  young 
one,  she  mourns  over  it,  and  will  not  be  comforted:  should  it 
wander  from  her  side,  her  anxious  bleatings  are  everywhere 
heard ;  and  the  little  creature  rewards  her  cares  with  surpris- 
ing fondness.  Who  that  has  seen  shearing  of  the  flock,  has  not 
marked  the  startled  aspect  of  the  lamb  when  the  mother  first 
runs  toward  it  divested  of  her  covering,  and  how  quickly  it  is 
reassured,  and  how  sensibly  it  expresses  its  joy.  when  it  hears 
the  well-known  voice,  and  receives  the  wonted  caresses  !  The 
Sheep  appears  insensible  and  stupid,  because  it  is  rarely  at- 
tached to  us  by  acts  of  familiarity  and  kindness.  But  let  the 
orphan  lamb  be  brought  up  at  the  shepherd's  cot,  and  fed 
from  his  hand,  and  we  shall  find  it  to  be  nearly  as  fami- 
liar as  a  dog, — fond  of  being  caressed,  and  unwilling  to  leave 

32  THE  SHEEP. 

its  protector  to  join  its  fellows  of  the  flock.  In  countries 
where  the  shepherd  guides  his  flock,  and  does  not  herd  it  by 
dogs  in  the  manner  practised  in  other  places,  the  docility 
which  the  animals  acquire  is  wonderfully  great.  Where  the 
shepherd  leads  they  follow  ;  they  observe  his  motions  and 
hear  his  voice,  and  when  he  uses  a  pipe  or  horn,  they  listen 
to  the  well-known  sound,  and  obey  the  signal.  In  the  Alps 
of  Switzerland^  and  in  the  mountainous  parts  of  Italy,  in 
Greece,  and  elsewhere,  we  are  yet  charmed  with  this  rem- 
nant of  pastoral  simplicity  and  innocence.  The  shepherd 
boy  knows  all  his  little  favourites, — he  remembers  their 
names,  and,  when  called,  they  leave  the  flock  and  come  to 
him.  When  the  numbers  are  great,  he  selects  a  few,  teaches 
them  their  simple  lesson,  and  they  become  the  guides  of  the 
rest  to  their  allotted  pastures,  and  learn  to  collect  the  wan- 
derers. The  music  of  the  mountain  shepherd  we  find  to  be 
no  poetic  fiction.  In  the  mountains  of  the  South,  we  yet 
hear  the  soft  and  artless  tones  of  his  pipe.  In  the  morning 
he  leads  forth  his  little  flock,  and  plays  as  he  marches  at  their 
head,  and  at  sunset  returns  in  like  manner  to  the  fold,  where 
he  pens  them,  that  they  may  be  kept  from  the  wolves. 

The  fur  of  the  Sheep  consists  partly  of  hair,  but  essentially 
of  wrool.  In  cold,  moist.)  and  elevated  countries,  the  hair 
often  becomes  so  long  as  to  cover  the  wool ;  and  when  the 
wool  falls  off  in  the  early  part  of  summer,  the  covering  of 
hair  remains  to  protect  the  animal.  In  warm  countries,  the 
wool  is  often  scarcely  developed,  and  nearly  the  whole  coat 
is  of  hair,  just  as  in  the  case  of  the  Deer,  the  Antelope,  and 
the  Goat ;  yet  this  is  not  always  the  case,  even  in  the  warmer 
countries,  in  which  the  fur  is  sometimes  fleecy,  soft,  and  thin. 
Often  the  wool  is  long,  and  the  filaments  thick,  without  being 
hairy,  as  in  the  case  of  the  Sheep  of  the  richer  plains  of  Eng- 
land ;  sometimes  it  is  short,  fine,  and  curling,  as  in  the  case 
of  the  Mountain  Sheep  of  Spain.  We  can  sometimes  trace 
the  influence  of  climate  in  modifying  the  characters  of  wool, 
but  often  it  is  affected  by  causes  which  we  are  unable  to  dis- 


cover.  It  is  often  affected  by  domestication  and  artificial 
treatment.  The  difference  in  the  character  of  wool  renders 
it  more  or  less  valuable,  and  more  or  less  suited  to  different 
manufactures.  Thus,  the  long  thick  wool  of  the  Sheep  of  the 
plains  of  England  is  suited  to  the  manufacture  of  flannels ; 
that  of  the  South  Down,  Ry  eland,  and  Merino  breeds,  to  the 
fabrication  of  cloths  ;  that  of  the  Blackfaced  Heath  Sheep  of 
Scotland,  to  the  making  of  carpets  and  coarser  stuffs.  The 
colour  of  the  wool  of  Sheep  is  yet  less  dependent  upon  any 
known  causes  than  its  texture,  length,  or  fineness.  Some- 
times it  is  black,  sometimes  it  is  gray,  sometimes  it  is  brown, 
and  in  other  cases  it  is  white,  or  partly  black  and  partly 
white.  We  know  no  law  which  determines  these  colours. 
There  is  reason  to  believe  that  the  colour  of  the  fleece  in  the 
earlier  Sheep  tended  to  the  darker  colours  rather  than  to  the 
lighter,  as  it  yet  does  in  Sheep  that  are  left  long  in  their 
natural  state.  But  the  white  colour  came  to  be  more  valued, 
as  being  more  agreeable  to  the  eye,  but  chiefly  because  white 
wool  is  better  fitted  to  receive  those  bright  and  beautiful 
colours  which  we  are  enabled  to  communicate  by  the  dyeing 
process.  But  the  desire  to  obtain  white  wool  being  formed, 
it  was  easy  to  procure  white  Sheep,  by  using  males  and 
females  for  breeding  which  were  possessed  of  that  colour. 

With  respect  to  the  races  of  Sheep  which  have  been  domes- 
ticated in  different  countries,  a  diversity  so  great  is  presented 
in  the  form  and  size  of  the  animals,  nature  of  the  fleece,  and 
other  characters,  that  nothing  beyond  the  most  general  classi- 
fication can  be  made  when  we  refer  to  Sheep  extended  over 
many  and  distant  countries. 

Looking  to  Asia,  which  may  be  considered  as  the  cradle  of 
the  principal  domesticated  races,  it  may  be  said  that  there 
are  two  groups  of  cultivated  Sheep,  each,  however,  compre- 
hending innumerable  breeds  ; — first,  those  with  flat  tails 
naked  underneath ;  and,  secondly,  those  with  long  round 
tails  covered  with  wool.  The  Flat- tailed  races  have  a  won- 
derfully wide  range,  extending  from  Caubul  northwards  to 


3±  THE  SHEEP. 

near  the  Arctic  Circle,  eastward  through  the  boundless  wilds 
of  Chinese  Tartary,  and  westward  through  Persia  into  Asia 
Minor  and  Syria.  In  the  higher  latitudes  of  Asia,  the  same 
character  is  retained  ;  but  the  Sheep  themselves  become  di- 
minutive, and  the  tail  is  small,  and  carried  upwards  in  the 
manner  of  the  Goat.  The  small  Sheep  with  this  character 
have  been  regarded  by  naturalists  as  a  variety  or  class, 
which  has  been  termed  Brevi-cauda.  In  the  more  tem- 
perate latitudes,  the  flat  tail  becomes  long,  and,  in  certain 
countries,  is  loaded  with  fat,  so  as  to  form  a  great  part  of 
the  weight  of  the  animal.  This  peculiarity  is  the  most  deve- 
loped in  the  Sheep  of  the  countries  of  the  Euphrates,  in  Asia 
Minor,  Syria,  and  part  of  Arabia  ;  where,  when  the  animals 
receive  rich  food,  or  are  kept  in  pens  and  houses,  the  tail 
becomes  of  such  large  dimensions,  that  it  trails  upon  the 
ground,  so  that  it  is  frequently  supported  by  little  sledges  to 
keep  it  from  incommoding  the  animal.  The  Sheep  having 
these  broad  fat  tails  are  frequently  designated  the  Syrian 
Breed,  and  are  sometimes  brought  to  England  under  the 
name  of  Turkish  Sheep.  Aristotle,  Pliny,  and  others,  refer 
to  them  ;  and  there  is  reason  to  believe,  from  certain  no- 
tices in  the  Levitical  laws,  that  they  were  the  kind  of  Sheep 
cultivated  by  the  ancient  Jews.  They  are  a  very  valuable 
race  in  the  countries  which  produce  them.  The  large  tail, 
weighing  sometimes  of  itself  40  or  50  lb.,  is  greatly  valued, 
and  the  fat  is  used  along  with  other  food  as  butter  or  oil. 
The  ewes  are  prolific,  producing  twice  in  the  year,  and  yield- 
ing a  larger  quantity  of  milk  than  any  other  known  race  of 

But  towards  the  countries  of  the  Caspian  Sea,  a  remarkable 
deviation  from  this  form  occurs.  The  tail  becomes  short,  or 
rudimental,  and  the  fat  accumulates  on  the  haunches,  form- 
ing two  great  cushions.  This  character  is  chiefly  observed 
in  the  Sheep  of  the  countries  bordering  on  the  Caspian,  and 
the  great  saline  lake  of  Aral,  becoming  less  prominent  as  we 
recede  from  the  immense  basin  which  contains  these  seas, 


and  ultimately  disappearing.  It  has  been  conjectured  that 
the  character  itself  arises  from  the  Sheep  feeding  on  the  bit- 
ter and  saline  plants  found  in  these  countries  ;  and  it  is  said, 
that  when  they  are  removed  from  the  places  in  which  these 
plants  grow,  the  fatty  excrescence  becomes  less.  It  may 
justly  be  assumed,  indeed,  that  this  character  is  the  result  of 
peculiarities  of  food,  although  we  cannot  determine  physiolo- 
gically in  what  manner  the  effect  is  produced.  The  Sheep 
in  which  this  singular  character  appears  have  been  regarded 
as  a  natural  variety,  and  termed  Steatopyga. 

The  races  of  Sheep,  again,  having  round  tails  covered  with 
wool,  are  widely  diffused  over  the  Asiatic  Continent.  From 
this  group  of  breeds  the  finest  wool  is  produced,  though,  in 
the  greater  number  of  them,  the  wool  is  extremely  coarse, 
and  largely  mixed  with  hairs.  Some  of  them  are  of  a  large 
size,  as  in  Thibet,  where  they  are  employed  for  carrying  bur- 
dens. The  Sheep  of  the  Tartars  may  be  referred  in  part  to 
this  group,  and  in  part  to  the  broad-tailed.  The  Tartar  Sheep 
are  remarkably  strong  and  hardy,  but,  for  the  most  part,  of 
bad  farmland  covered  with  coarse  wool.  But  when  we  speak 
of  Tartary,  or  rather  Tahtary,  it  is  to  be  remembered  that 
we  use  a  vague  term  for  a  region  which  comprehends  a  great 
part  of  all  Asia,  and  includes  tribes  and  nations  entirely 
distinct  from  one  another  in  speech,  customs,  and  country. 
The  inhabitants,  however,  generally  agree  in  this,  that  they 
are  rude  shepherds,  subsisting  on  the  produce  of  their  flocks 
and  herds,  with  which  they  migrate  from  place  to  place  ; 
but  their  domesticated  animals  differ  greatly  with  place,  so 
that  the  Sheep  of  the  Turcomans  and  other  western  Asiatics 
are  distinct  from  those  of  the  Kalmuks,  Mantchoories,  and 
others.  Towards  the  Eastern  Ocean,  comprehending  the 
fertile  plains  of  China  Proper,  the  Sheep,  like  the  Horses  of 
the  same  country,  become  of  small  size  ;  and  the  same  re- 
mark applies  to  those  which  are  found  in  the  luxuriant  Islands 
of  the  Eastern  Archipelago.  Hindostan  contains  races  more 
diversified  in  size,  form,  and  the  character  of  the  wool,  than 

36  THE  SHEEP. 

those  of  any  other  country  of  Asia  of  the  same  extent.  The 
finest  and  largest  are  derived  from  Caubul  and  the  other 
countries  westward  of  the  Indus  ;  towards  the  more  arid  re- 
gions of  the  south  the  Sheep  become  of  diminutive  size,  and 
are  in  many  cases  covered  with  short  hair,  with  scarcely  the 
vestige  of  a  fleece.  Some  of  the  Indian  Sheep  have  very  pe- 
culiar characters,  as  the  Mysore  Breed,  the  Piirek  Breed,  and 

Africa  abounds  in  Sheep,  as  in  Goats  and  all  the  ruminat- 
ing tribes.  In  the  countries  of  the  great  Mediterranean 
basin,  comprehending  Barbary,  from  the  Atlantic  to  the  de- 
serts bordering  on  Egypt,  the  races  are  greatly  varied.  In 
many  parts,  chiefly  in  the  Regency  of  Tunis,  are  found  the 
Broad-tailed  Syrian  Sheep.  Some  are  many-horned,  having 
a  coarse  fleece.  The  more  common  Sheep  of  the  Barbary 
States  have  long  limbs,  ungainly  forms,  and  shaggy  hair. 
They  have  been  termed  by  naturalists  the  Long-legged  Breed 
of  Africa,  which,  however,  rather  indicates  a  character  than 
a  breed.  They  have  a  mixed  fur,  chiefly  of  hair  ;  but  towards 
the  great  mountains  inland  are  found  races  of  Sheep  entirely 
different,  covered  with  a  fine  wool  fitted  for  the  most  delicate 
fabrics  of  the  loom. 

In  Abyssinia  and  the  countries  of  the  Red  Sea  is  found  a 
race  of  Sheep  differing  entirely  from  any  existing  in  Europe, 
and  which,  if  we  are  to  pay  regard  at  all  to  external  cha- 
racters in  discriminating  species,  must  be  regarded  as  a  dis- 
tinct species.  These  sheep  are  covered  with  short  glossy 
hair,  with  scarcely  the  rudiment  of  a  fleece.  They  have  thick 
necks,  with  well -formed  heads.  The  head,  and  part  of  the 
throat  and  neck,  are  black,  and  the  rest  of  the  body  is  pure 
white,  without  any  tendency  to  the  rufous  colour  characteris- 
tic of  our  common  Sheep.  They  have  short  or  rudimental 
tails,  and  are  destitute  of  horns ;  and  the  fat  accumulates 
largely  on  the  buttocks  and  inside  of  the  thighs.  This  race  is 
found  in  Arabia,  and  has  been  carried,  by  the  countries  of  the 
Euphrates,  into  Persia,  whence  it  has  been  sometimes  erro- 


neously  termed  the  Persian  Breed,  though  in  no  degree  pro- 
per to  Persia.  These  Sheep  thrive  on  the  withered  herbage 
of  the  countries  they  inhabit,  and  where  the  Sheep  of  Europe 
would  perish.  They  are  found  in  Madagascar,  and  along  the 
south-eastern  coast  of  Africa,  together  with  the  broad- tailed 

Of  the  races  of  the  boundless  countries  of  the  interior  of 
the  African  Continent  we  know  scarcely  any  thing.  Travel- 
lers, indeed,  speak  of  Sheep  as  being  numerous  in  the 
countries  they  have  traversed,  but  they  give  us  no  characters 
by  which  the  races  can  be  discriminated.  But  in  the  rich 
and  pestilential  countries  of  the  Negroes  of  the  western 
coasts,  the  Sheep  are  better  known  to  us.  They  are  in  great 
numbers,  and  of  characters  as  distinct  from  those  of  Asia 
and  Europe  as  other  quadrupeds  of  the  same  countries. 
They  are  covered  with  short  hair  without  any  wool,  and  have 
tails  like  those  of  swine  ;  and  some  of  them  have  singular 
enlargements  on  the  cheek,  throat,  and  sometimes  on  the 
forehead.  They  are  familiar  to  the  slave-traders,  who'carry 
them  away  as  sea-stock,  along  with  their  human  victims. 
In  the  milder  countries  southward  to  the  extremity  of  the 
Continent,  there  are  large  flocks  of  Sheep  reared  by  such  of 
the  itomadic  tribes  as  their  own  endless  wars  and  the  cruel 
avarice  of  European  colonists  have  spared.  The  Hottentot 
Sheep  are  of  slender  forms,  resembling  foxes  rather  than 
Sheep,  and  having  long  tails  on  which  the  fat  accumulates. 
They  have  been  confounded  with  the  broad-tailed  Syrian 
race,  from  which  they  are  distinct.  They  have  been  long 
available  to  the  Indian  voyagers  as  sea-stock ;  but  they  are 
of  delicate  constitution,  and  frequently  perish  with  the  first 
gales  on  quitting  the  Cape  of  Storms.  Few  of  them,  how- 
ever, now  exist  in  the  pure  state  in  the  territory  of  the  Cape, 
a  mixed  race  having  been  formed  by  the  Dutch  and  English 

Turning  to  Europe,  we  find  the  Sheep  varying  in  every 
country,  and,  like  the  human  inhabitants,  exhibiting  the  most 

38  THE  SHEEP. 

marked  traces  of  a  mixed  descent.  It  has  been  questioned 
whether  the  pristine  inhabitants  of  Europe  possessed  the 
domestic  Sheep,  and  did  not,  like  the  wild  tribes  of  the  North 
American  forests,  live  solely  by  the  spoils  of  the  chase.  We 
cannot  resolve  this  question,  because  we  do  not  know  who 
were  the  pristine  inhabitants  of  Europe.  But  we  have  reason 
to  believe,  that  the  early  Celtic  and  Teutonic  nations  were  in 
possession  of  Sheep,  which,  indeed,  they  could  hardly  have 
failed  to  bring  with  them  in  their  migrations  westward, — the 
Teutons  from  the  countries  north  of  the  Black  Sea  and  the 
Caspian,  and  the  Celts  from  those  other  regions  of  the  East 
where  the  Sheep  had  been  cultivated  from  the  first  ages. 
Yet  the  greater  part  of  Europe  was  long  a  great  forest,  un- 
favourable to  the  cultivation  of  Sheep  ;  and  they  are  rarely 
mentioned  by  early  chroniclers.  It  is  a  mistake,  however, 
to  contend,  as  some  have  done,  that  Sheep  did  not  find  their 
way  into  Western  Europe  until  about  the  Christian  era. 
Indisputable  proofs  to  the  contrary  exist,  as  in  Spain,  which 
was  long  before  this  era  inhabited  by  Sheep,  and  even  in 
North  Britain,  where  the  remnants  of  the  Celtic  Sheep  are 
still  to  be  found,  and  where  the  early  language  of  the  people 
shews  their  familiarity  with  these  animals.  In  the  south  of 
Europe,  we  may  suppose  that  the  Sheep  of  Asia  were  added 
to  those  of  the  pre-existing  races.  They  may  be  believed 
to  have  found  their  way  into  Greece  by  the  Hellespont,  with 
the  introduction  of  civilization  and  letters.  The  Sheep  of 
Arcadia  became  at  length  the  boast  of  Greece  ;  and  innumer- 
able allusions  in  the  writings  of  her  poets,  historians,  and 
philosophers,  shew  us  in  what  estimation  this  gift  cf  the  Gods 
was  held.  Italy  likewise  possessed  her  Sheep  from  an  un- 
known period  ;  but  the  inhabitants,  even  up  to  a  period  com- 
paratively recent,  seem  to  have  directed  their  attention  to  the 
Goat  more  than  to  the  Sheep.  Long  after  Rome  was  founded, 
the  inhabitants  had  not  learned  to  shear  the  fleece  ;  and, 
until  the  time  of  Pliny,  the  practice  of  plucking  it  from  the 
skin  was  not  wholly  abandoned,  so  long  had  the  humble  shep- 


herds  of  Syria  preceded,  in  their  knowledge  of  necessary  arts, 
the  future  conquerors  of  their  country. 

In  the  highest  latitudes  of  Europe  are  found  the  short- 
tailed  Sheep  of  Northern  Asia,  which  had  even  found  their 
way  from  Scandinavia  to  the  most  northerly  of  the  British 
Islands,  where  they  still  exist.  In  certain  countries,  too,  of 
the  north  of  Europe,  are  found  Polycerate  Sheep  ;  hut  the 
greater  part  of  the  Sheep  of  Europe  are  of  the  common  long- 
tailed  varieties,  though  manifestly  derived  from  different 
sources.  For  the  most  part,  the  Sheep  of  the  richer  countries 
are  larger  than  those  of  the  poorer  ;  but  this  is  not  without 
exception,  since,  in  fertile  countries,  are  found  races  of  Sheep, 
which,  amidst  the  most  abundant  herbage,  remain  diminutive 
in  size. 

In  European  Turkey  and  Greece,  the  Sheep  do  not  now 
correspond  with  their  ancient  fame.  They  are  of  small  size 
and  indifferent  form.  They  are  often  of  the  broad-tailed  race 
of  Asia  Minor ;  and  some  of  them  have  the  horns  twisted  like 
certain  Antelopes,  forming  the  race  designated  Strepsiceros, 
and  sometimes  termed  the  Cretan  breed.  In  the  Islands  of 
the  Archipelago  few  Sheep  are  reared.  Some  of  them  are  of 
the  Cretan,  some  of  the  Syrian  breed,  and  some  of  them  are 

Ascending  the  Danube,  the  Sheep  are  found  to  be  of  the 
long- tailed  varieties,  with  more  or  less  of  the  characters  of 
the  Cretan  race.  The  breed  of  Wallachia  may  be  regarded 
as  the  type  of  the  races  which  extend  through  Moldavia, 
Transylvania,  and  westwards  towards  Vienna.  They  have 
black  faces,  and  long  wiry  wool,  much  mixed  with  hair. 

Italy,  once  so  renowned  for  her  Sheep,  can  now  boast 
.  little .  of  this  production  of  her  bounteous  clime.  The  Ro- 
mans, whose  dress  was  woollen,  cultivated  in  an  especial 
degree  the  fineness  of  the  fleece  ;  and  it  was  not  until  the 
days  of  the  Empire  that  the  silk  and  cotton  of  the  East  be- 
gan to  supersede  the  ancient  raiment  of  the  Roman  people. 
The  finest  wools  of  ancient  Italy  were  produced  in  Apulia 

40  THE   SHEEP. 

and  Calabria,  being  the  eastern  parts  of  the  present  kingdom 
of  Naples.  Pliny  informs  us  that  the  best  wool  was  that  of 
Apulia,  on  the  Adriatic  Sea  ;  that  the  next  best  was  further 
to  the  south,  on  the  Gulf  of  Tarentum ;  that  the  Milesian  or 
Asiatic  Sheep  carried  the  third  prize ;  and  that,  for  white- 
ness, there  was  none  better  than  that  produced  on  the  Po. 
The  care  of  the  Romans  in  causing  the  wool  to  grow  fine, 
exceeded,  in  the  case  of  certain  breeds,  any  thing  that  is 
now  attempted.  The  sheep  were  kept  in  houses,  and  con- 
tinually clothed,  so  that  the  filaments  of  the  wool  might  be- 
come delicate  :  the  skin  was  smeared  with  fine  oil,  and  mois- 
tened with  wine ;  the  fleece  was  combed,  so  that  the  wool 
might  not  become  matted  ;  and  the  whole  was  washed  seve- 
ral times  in  the  year.  Under  this  artificial  treatment  the 
breed  became  tender,  subject  to  diseases,  voracious  of  food, 
and  the  females  so  incapable  of  nourishing  their  young, 
that  many  of  the  lambs  were  obliged  to  be  destroyed.  The 
Apulian  and  Tarentine  breeds  probably  ceased  to  exist  even 
before  the  fall  of  the  Empire,  or  were  swept  away  by  barbar- 
ous conquerors,  with  all  the  arts  of  the  lovely  land.  There 
are  still  in  Italy  many  fine-woolled  Sheep,  but  of  small  bad 
form,  and  ruined  by  neglect.  The  same  remark  applies  to 
the  Sheep  of  Sicily,  which  were  greatly  celebrated  for  the 
fineness  of  their  wool,  and  which  have  not  yet  lost  this  an- 
cient character. 

Of  all  the  countries  of  Europe,  Spain  has  been  the  longest 
distinguished  for  its  Sheep.  This  fine  country,  more  varied 
in  its  surface  and  natural  productions  than  any  other  region 
of  the  like  extent  in  Europe,  produces  a  great  variety  of 
breeds,  from  the  larger  animals  of  the  richer  plains,  to  the 
smaller  races  of  the  higher  mountains  and  arid  country. 
Besides  the  difference  produced  in  the  Sheep  of  Spain  by 
varieties  of  climate  and  natural  productions,  the  diversity  of 
character  in  the  animals  may  be  supposed  to  have  been  in- 
creased by  the  different  races  introduced  into  it,  1st,  from 
Asia,  by  the  early  Phoenician  colonies  ;  2d,  from  Africa,  by 

WOOL.  41 

the  Carthaginians,  during  their  brief  possession ;  3c?,  from 
Italy,  by  the  Romans,  during  their  dominion  of  several  hun- 
dred years  ;  and  4M,  again  from  Africa,  by  the  Moors,  who 
maintained  a  footing  in  the  country  for  nearly  eight  centuries. 
The  larger  Sheep  of  the  plains  have  long  wool,  often  coloured 
brown  or  black.  The  Sheep  of  the  mountains,  downs,  and 
arid  plains,  have  short  wool,  of  different  degrees  of  fineness, 
and  different  colours.  The  most  important  of  'these  latter 
races  is  the  Merino,  now  the  most  esteemed  and  widely  dif- 
fused of  all  the  fine-woolled  breeds  of  Europe. 

In  the  British  Islands  the  races  of  Sheep  present  extraor- 
dinary diversities  of  size,  form,  and  other  characters,  caused, 
it  may  be  believed,  in  part,  by  a  difference  of  descent,  in  part 
by  the  long-continued  influence  of  climate,  food,  and  other 
agencies,  and  in  part  by  the  effects  of  breeding  and  artificial 
treatment.  But  before  describing  the  breeds  proper  to,  or 
naturalized  in,  these  Islands,  it  will  be  well  to  direct  atten- 
tion to  the  nature  of  Wool,  which  forms  an  important  pro- 
duction of  the  Sheep  in  all  countries. 


The  Hair  of  animals,  of  which  Wool  is  a  variety,  springs 
from  the  cellular  tissue,  immediately  underneath  the  corion 
or  true  skin.  It  grows  from  a  soft  pulp  included  in  a  little 
sac,  into  which  nerves  and  bloodvessels  pass  from  the  sur- 
rounding tissue.  It  extends  outwards,  passing  through  the 
true  skin  and  epidermis  in  the  form  of  a  fine  cylinder.  It  pos- 
sesses externally  a  scaly  texture,  the  laminae  pointing  in  one 
direction  from  the  root  to  the  tip,  and  is  protected  by  an 
unctuous  secretion.  Wool  is  chiefly  distinguished  from  hair 
by  its  growing  in  a  spiral  form,  by  its  greater  softness  and 
pliability,. and  by  a  property  to  be  referred  to,  by  which  the 
separate  filaments  adhere  under  the  influence  of  moisture 
and  pressure.  On  account  of  these  properties,  wool  is 

42  THE   SHEEP. 

greatly  better  suited  than  hair  for  being  spun  and  woven 
into  cloth. 

Hair  is  often  largely  mixed  with  the  wool  of  Sheep,  and, 
in  the  wilder  races,  forms  the  principal  part  of  the  animal's 
covering.  By  frequent  shearing  of  the  fleece,  the  hair  di- 
minishes in  quantity,  and  the  wool  is  proportionally  de- 
veloped, until  at  length,  under  the  influence  of  continued 
domestication,  the  essential  covering  of  the  animal  becomes 
wool,  of  greater  or  less  tenuity  and  softness.  In  the  culti- 
vated Sheep  of  England,  hair  covers  only  the  face  and  part 
of  the  limbs,  but  often  hairs  are  mixed  with  the  wool  of 
other  parts  of  the  body ;  and  this,  as  it  regards  the  manu- 
facture, is  an  imperfection,  and  it  is  a  process  of  art  to 
separate  the  intermixed  hairs  from  the  wool. 

Generally  speaking,  the  wool  of  Sheep  in  these  latitudes 
is  yearly  renewed,  the  older  part  falling  off  at  the  com- 
mencement of  the  warmer  season,  and  it  is  then  that  we 
anticipate  the  process  of  nature  by  shearing  the  fleece.  But 
the  wool  may  be  shorn  at  any  time,  and,  like  hair,  will  grow 
again.  In  this  country,  however,  it  is  never  thought  bene- 
ficial to  shear  the  wool  more  than  once  in  the  year,  and  this 
at  the  commencement  of  the  warmer  season,  when  the  older 
portion  is  about  to  fall  off.  In  certain  parts  of  this  country, 
favourable  with  respect  to  the  mildness  of  the  climate,  the 
wool  of  lambs  is  shorn ;  but  the  practice  is  unsuited  to  a 
cold  climate,  and  is  only,  therefore,  very  partially  pursued. 
The  wool  of  lambs  employed  in  the  manufactures  of  this 
country  is  chiefly  derived  from  the  skins  of  animals  that 
have  been  killed  for  the  butcher,  though  largely,  also,  from 
the  importation  of  the  skins  of  lambs  with  the  wool  from 
other  countries. 

The  wool  of  different  races  or  families  of  Sheep  is  greatly 
distinguished  by  the  length  of  the  staple  and  the  tenuity  and 
softness  of  the  filaments.  And  not  only  does  the  wool  of 
different  Sheep  differ  in  these  properties,  but  the  wool  of 
the  same  individual  is  more  or  less  soft  and  fine,  according 

WOOL.  43 

to  the  parts  of  the  body  from  which  it  is  derived.  In  gene- 
ral, the  wool  becomes  less  fine,  proceeding  from  the  neck 
towards  the  extremities,  so  that  the  wool  on  the  breech  is 
more  coarse  than  that  on  the  back  and  sides.  It  is  a  pro- 
cess of  art  to  separate  the  finer  from  the  coarser  parts  in  an 
individual  fleece,  and  this  into  such  number  of  divisions  as 
suits  the  nature  of  the  wool,  or  the  manufacture  intended. 
The  number  of  these  divisions  varies  from  six  to  ten,  or,  in 
many  cases,  to  a  greater  number.  The  fleece  being  un- 
rolled, the  workman  at  his  table,  with  a  clear  light  thrown 
upon  him,  and  guided  by  the  eye  and  touch,  culls  out  the 
several  locks,  as  distinguished  by  the  fineness  of  the  fila- 
ments. These  being  put  into  baskets  placed  around  him, 
are  afterwards  collected  into  distinct  packages ;  and  thus  the 
manufacturer  is  supplied  with  wool  of  the  peculiar  quality 
required.  This  operation  is  sometimes  performed  under  the 
direction  of  the  manufacturers  themselves,  but  more  com- 
monly by  a  class  of  persons  termed  wool- staplers,  who  pur- 
chase the  raw  material  from  the  grower,  and  dispose  of  it 
after  being  assorted  to  the  manufacturer.  The  operative 
part  of  the  process  is  one  of  great  nicety,  to  which  men  are 
trained,  as  to  the  other  mechanical  arts,  by  a  regular  ap- 

Wool  is  eminently  suited  to  the  reception  of  colours  by 
the  dyeing  process,  excelling  in  this  respect  silk,  and  much 
more  cotton,  and  all  other  vegetable  substances.  White 
wool  receives  the  colouring  matter  more  readily  than  black, 
the  finer  parts  of  the  fleece  more  readily  than  the  coarser, 
and  the  wool  of  healthy  Sheep  more  readily  than  that  of 
those  which  are  unhealthy.  The  natural  colour  of  wool  is 
often  black,  and  black  filaments  are  frequently  mixed  with 
the  white.  The  intermixture  is  regarded  as  a  great  defect, 
the  black  filaments  being  unsuited  for  the  reception  of  the 
brighter  and  more  delicate  colours  in  dyeing.  The  inter- 
mixture of  black  wool  with  white  is  most  apt  to  take  place 

*  Remarks  by  the  Author  on  Wool,  aliunde. 

44  THE  SHEEP. 

in  the  case  of  the  breeds  of  Sheep  whose  legs  and  faces  are 
covered  with  dark  hair. 

The  kinds  of  wool,  as  distinguished  from  one  another  by 
the  length  of  the  staple,  are  termed  Long  and  Short.  In  this 
country  the  long  wools  are  the  produce  of  the  larger  Sheep  of 
the  plains,  and  possess  a  staple  of  seven  inches  and  upwards. 
The  short  wools  ai;e  the  produce  of  the  smaller  Sheep  of  the 
mountains,  dowrns,  and  generally  of  the  drier  or  less  fertile 
country,  and  have  wool  of  a  staple  from  two  to  four  inches. 

Wool  is  prepared  for  being  spun  into  thread  by  two  pro- 
cesses entirely  different  in  the  effect  and  mode  of  execution  : 
the  first  is  termed  Combing,  and  prepares  the  wool  for  being 
spun  into  worsted  yarn,  which  is  the  kind  of  thread  employed 
for  the  stuffs  called  worsteds  ;  the  second  is  termed  Carding, 
and  prepares  the  material  for  being  spun  into  woollen  yarn, 
which  is  the  kind  of  thread  suited  for  the  manufacture  of 
woollen  cloths. 

In  combing,  the  process  consists  in  dividing  the  wool  by 
means  of  fine  steel  teeth,  acting  in  the  manner  of  the  com- 
mon comb  on  knotted  or  entangled  hair.  The  comb  is  kept 
hot,  and  the  wool  is  oiled,  in  order  that  it  may  pass  more 
easily  between  the  teeth  of  the  comb.  In  this  manner,  the 
filaments  are  smoothed  and  arranged  side  by  side,  some- 
what in  the  manner  in  which  the  fibres  of  hemp  and  flax  are 
assorted  for  spinning,  and  being  then  drawn  out  to  the  de- 
gree of  tenuity  required,  are  twisted  or  spun,  forming  worsted 
yarn.  The  tenuity  given  to  these  threads  is  of  every  degree, 
suited  to  the  various  kinds  of  manufacture,  from  the  thickest 
and  stoutest  substances,  to  the  most  delicate  articles  of 
clothing  and  dress.  The  fineness  to  which  woollen  threads 
can  be  spun  almost  exceeds  belief.  It  has  been  computed 
that,  in  ordinary  spinning  at  Norwich,  a  pound  of  wool  may 
be  extended  to  13,440  yards,  or  in  superfine  spinning,  to 
37,200  yards,  or  about  22£  miles,  so  that  a  fleece  yielding 
7  lb.  would  produce  a  thread  of  155  miles  in  length:  and 
even  this  degree  of  fineness  can  be  exceeded.  The  exporta- 

WOOL.  45 

tion  of  worsted  yarn  was  formerly  prohibited  by  law  ;  it  is 
now  permitted,  and  forms  an  increasing  and  profitable  branch 
of  trade. 

The  preparation  of  wool  by  carding,  for  the  manufacture 
of  woollen  cloth,  is  performed  in  an  entirely  different  manner. 
In  this  process,  the  filaments  are  not  kept  entire  and  laid 
parallel  to  one  another  in  the  direction  of  the  thread  to  be 
spun  ;  but  they  are  torn  and  broken  into  innumerable  minute 
fragments,  and  then  mingled  together  in  every  direction.  By 
the  spiral  growth  of  wool,  as  distingushed  from  that  of  hair, 
each  filament,  or  portion  of  a  filament,  is  curled  at  its  ex- 
tremity, and  the  broken  or  divided  parts  tend  to  hook  them- 
selves to  one  another,  so  that,  when  a  portion  of  wool  is 
forcibly  broken  into  pieces,  the  fragments  remain  loosely 
adherent,  and  may  then  be  twisted  or  spun.  The  operation 
of  breaking  the  wool  by  means  of  the  card  is  performed  by 
machinery ;  but  the  principle  of  the  process  will  be  under- 
stood from  the  following  explanation  : — 

Let  there  be  supposed  to  be  a  board  with  a  handle  attached, 
and  that  in  this  board  is  fixed  a  great  number  of  crooked 
wires,  all  bent  in  one  direction.  These  wires  are  then  par- 
tially filled  with  wool.  Another  board  with  the  same  kind  of 
wires  or  teeth  is  then  pulled  in  such  a  manner  as  that  its 
teeth  shall  pass  through  amongst  those  of  the  other  board. 
By  the  repeated  action  of  these  two  cards,  the  wool  is  broken 
into  minute  fragments,  which,  from  the  curling  property  of 
the  wool  referred  to,  hook  themselves  together,  and  are 
formed  into  long  rolls  or  cardings,  which,  being  drawn  out 
and  twisted,  form  the  thread. 

This  peculiar  mode  of  forming  the  thread  of  woollen  yarn 
has  relation  to  the  kind  of  fabric  to  be  formed,  namely, 
woollen  cloth,  which  is  a  substance  of  a  dense  and  close  tex- 
ture ;  while  the  fabrics  formed  of  worsted  thread  are  of  a 
lighter  and  looser  texture.  The  denser  consistence  is  given 
to  the  woollen  cloth  by  means  of  the  property  termed  Felting. 

The  property  of  felting  consists  in  a  tendency  of  the  fila- 

46  THE  SHEEP. 

merits  of  wool  to  unite  or  adhere  when  moistened  and  com- 
pressed. By  compression  in  the  moist  state,  a  mass  of  wool 
becomes  a  dense  body,  as  we  see  in  the  case  of  hats  or  beavers, 
which  are  formed  of  the  wool  and  down  of  animals  subjected 
to  pressure  and  moisture.  Nay,  by  this  process  alone,  with- 
out the  intervention  of  spinning  or  weaving,  cloth  can  be 
formed.  Thus,  in  ancient  times,  and  among  certain  people  of 
the  East  at  the  present  day,  caps,  mantles,  blankets,  carpets, 
and  the  covering  of  tents,  are  formed  by  felting  alone.  In 
England,  recent  experiments  have  shewn,  that  tolerably  good 
cloths,  both  with  respect  to  durability  and  fineness,  may  be 
formed  by  this  means.  The  property  appears  to  depend  on 
the  form  of  the  filaments  before  referred  to.  -Each  filament 
is  seen  to  be  notched  all  round  with  minute  serrations,  formed 
by  fine  sharp  laminse,  proceeding  from  the  pile  like  the  leaves 
of  an  artichoke,  all  pointing  in  one  direction  from  the  base 
to  the  extremity.  Now  when,  by  the  process  of  carding,  the 
filaments  are  broken  into  minute  fragments,  the  parts  are  in- 
termingled in  every  direction,  and  the  serrations  tend  to  lock 
themselves  into  one  another  by  meeting  in  opposite  direc- 
tions. But  when  wool  is  prepared  by  combing,  the  serrations 
lie  in  one  direction,  and  do  not  in  the  same  degree  tend  to 
lock  themselves  together. 

In  the  manufacture  of  woollen  cloth,  the  felting  process  is 
not  called  into  operation  until  the  threads  are  spun  and 
woven,  and  in  the  preparatory  process  the  tendency  of  the 
filaments  to  cohere  is  prevented  by  oiling  the  wool.  But 
when  the  cloth  is  woven,  it  is  subjected  to  a  process  termed 
Fulling,  for  the  purpose  of  freeing  it  from  the  oily  matter. 
The  fulling  is  performed  by  machinery,  and  consists  in  press- 
ing the  cloth  in  water  along  with  clay,  the  aluminous  matter 
of  which  combines  with  the  oil  of  the  cloth.  It  is  in  under- 
going this  operation  that  the  threads  and  filaments  cohere 
together,  so  that  the  cloth  becomes  more  thick,  and  does  not 
unravel  when  cut. 

From  this  account,  it  will  be  seen  that,  while  the  facilitv 

WOOL.  47 

of  felting  is  an  important  property  in  the  case  of  all  wool 
designed  for  the  manufacture  of  cloth,  and  prepared  by  the 
card,  it  is  not  required  in  the  case  of  wool  intended  for 
worsted,  and  prepared  by  the  comb.  Certain  kinds  of  wool 
have  this  property  in  a  higher  degree  than  others,  and  are 
consequently  better  adapted  for  the  making  of  woollen  cloth. 
In  general,  the  shorter  kinds  of  wool  having  also  fine  fila- 
ments, are  those  of  which  the  laminae  are  most  numerous 
and  distinct,  and  are  those  accordingly  in  which  the  felting 
property  is  the  greatest.  The  property,  however,  is  not  in 
proportion  to  the  tenuity  of  the  fibres,  since  certain  short 
and  slender  wools  possess  it  in  an  inferior  degree.  Of  all 
known  wools,  that  derived  from  the  Merino  race  possesses 
the  felting  property  in  the  greatest  perfection,  and  is  accord- 
ingly the  best  adapted  of  all  others  for  the  making  of  cloth  ; 
while  the  long  and  tough  wool  of  the  larger  sheep  is  imper- 
fectly adapted  to  the  preparation  of  woollen  yarn,  and  ac- 
cordingly is  never  prepared  by  the  action  of  the  card.  It  is, 
therefore,  the  short  and  felting  wools  which  alone  are  fitted 
for  this  process  ;  and  until  a  period  comparatively  recent,  they 
were,  with  few  exceptions  in  this  country,  never  prepared  by 
any  other  means.  This  gave  rise  to  a  popular  distinction, 
long  in  use,  and  not  yet  entirely  abandoned.  The  long  wools 
were  termed  Combing  wools  ;  the  short,  Carding  wools.  But 
these  designations  are  no  longer  applicable.  By  improve- 
ments in  the  woollen  manufacture,  the  means  have  been 
found  to  prepare  the  shorter  and  more  delicate  wools  by  the 
comb  as  well  as  by  the  card  ;  and  now  a  great  proportion  of 
all  the  short  wool  of  this  country  is  converted  into  worsted 
yarn.  The  South  Down  wool,  which  was  formerly,  and  until 
a  recent  period  exclusively,  prepared  by  the  card,  is  now  in 
a  still  larger  degree  prepared  by  the  comb  for  the  manufac- 
ture of  worsted.  It  has  fallen  in  price,  indeed,  from  its  being 
no  longer  used  for  the  finer  cloths,  but  the  range  of  its  utility 
has  been  greatly  extended.  Thus  it  is  also  with  the  wool  of 
the  Cheviot,  the  Norfolk,  and  other  Short-woolled  breeds  ; 

48  THE  SHEEP. 

and  there  cannot  be  a  doubt,  that,  although  individual  in- 
terests may  have  been  injuriously  affected  by  the  fall  in  the 
price,  the  nation  has  been  benefited  by  an  extension  of  the 
purposes  to  which  this  class  of  wools  can  be  applied.  Nay, 
the  general  good  of  the  wool-growers  themselves  has  been 
eminently  served.  The  demand  for  their  commodity  has  be- 
come more  steady,  and  the  trade  been  placed  on  a  surer  basis, 
by  being  founded  on  an  enlarged  demand,  and  supported,  not 
by*  artificial  regulations  and  fiscal  restraints,  but  by  an  exten- 
sion of  the  woollen  manufacture.  Soon  after  the  peace  of 
1814,  alarm  was  raised  among  the  British  wool-growers  lest 
the  price  of  the  raw  material  should  be  reduced  below  what 
they  chose  to  term  a  remunerating  price.  The  Government 
of  the  day,  in  an  evil  hour,  yielded  to  the  influence  exerted ; 
and  in  the  year  1819,  heavy  duties  were  imposed  on  foreign 
wool,  with  the  design  of  keeping  up  the  price  of  the  native  pro- 
duce, under  the  specious  pretext  of  encouraging  British  agri- 
culture. In  six  years  this  monstrous  law  was  repealed,  but 
not  until  it  had  done  all  that  the  shortness  of  the  time  allowed 
for  establishing  the  manufactures  of  foreign  rivals,  and  giv- 
ing them  the  ascendency  in  the  markets  of  Europe.  But  the 
price  of  short  wool  continuing  to  decline,  renewed  efforts  were 
made  by  the  wool-growers  to  induce  the  Legislature  to  re- 
store the  former  restrictions.  This,  in  1828,  led  to  a  parlia- 
mentary inquiry,  when  a  mass  of  evidence  was  produced, 
proving  beyond  all  cavil  the  danger  and  evil  of  interfering, 
through  the  medium  of  duties  and  fiscal  regulations,  with  the 
raw  material  of  a  manufacture  which  could  only  be  sustained 
by  freedom  of  trade  and  production.  It  was  proved  by  the  con- 
current testimony  of  witnesses  from  all  parts,  that  the  cloth 
made  from  British  wool  alone  could  no  longer  find  a  market 
in  Europe,  and  was  even  deemed  too  coarse  for  the  clothing 
of  the  labouring  classes  at  home  ;  and  that,  without  a  free 
command  of  the  wool  of  other  countries,  a  great  part  of  the 
woollen  export  trade  of  Great  Britain  would  be  for  ever  lost. 
It  may  well  excite  surprise  that  any  class  of  men  amongst 

WOOL.  49 

us  should  have  dared  to  demand  that  the  manufacturers  of 
the  country  should  be  prevented  from  procuring  the  materials 
of  their  manufacture  where  they  could  be  obtained  cheapest 
and  best ;  nay,  should  not  only  be  prevented  from  exercising 
this  natural  and  necessary  right,  but  compelled  to  take  from 
the  wool-growers  at  home,  and  at  a  price  enhanced  by  fiscal 
regulations,  what  was  absolutely  unsuited  for  the  purposes 
of  commerce.  The  disgraceful  law  of  1819  had  already 
shewn,  that,  by  refusing  to  take  the  wools  of  other  countries, 
we  depressed  the  price  of  the  raw  material  abroad,  and  thus 
gave  an  indirect  premium  to  the  foreign  manufacturer ;  and 
that,  by  forcing  our  manufacturers  to  employ  wools  of  inferior 
quality  and  higher  price,  we  directly  unfitted  them  for  com- 
petition in  the  general  market  of  the  world.  It  was  of  the 
repeal  of  the  law  of  1819  that  the  wool-growers  thought  fit 
to  complain,  as  having  produced  the  depreciation  which  had 
taken  place  in  the  price  of  the  clothing  wools,  not  perceiving 
that,  in  admitting  the  depreciation  from  this  cause,  they  ad- 
mitted at  the  same  time  the  magnitude  and  injustice  of  a 
burden,  which  had  been  so  heavily  taxing  the  manufacturing 
industry  of  our  own  country,  and  fostering  that  of  others. 

\Vhat,k  it  may  be  well  asked,  did  the  wool-growers  hope  for 
by  forcing  up  the  price  of  wool  by  such  expedients  ?  To  the 
mere  occupier  of  the  land  a  forced  rise  of  the  raw  material 
could  only  be  beneficial  during  a  passing  term.  On  the  ter- 
mination of  the  lease,  the  benefit  would  go  to  the  owner  of 
the  land  in  the  shape  of  increased  rent.  Thus,  in  order  to 
raise  the  rent  of  the  land,  the  wool-growers  were  prepared  to 
lay  a  tax  on  every  consumer  of  wool,  that  is,  on  every  indi- 
vidual in  the  kingdom,  and  to  cripple  the  trader  in  his  means 
to  maintain  his  equality  in  the  foreign  markets.  It  is  known 
that,  in  these  times,  the  great  danger  to  the  manufacturing 
prosperity  of  the  country  is  the  progress  of  other  nations  in 
those  arts  in  which  we  have  hitherto  excelled,  and  that  our 
relative  superiority  in  such  arts  can  only  be  maintained  by 
our  being  enabled  to  supply  the  productions  of  them  on  the 


50  THE  SHEEP. 

cheapest  terms  ;  and  granting  that  the  wool-growers  could, 
by  means  of  an  ill-judged  monopoly,  have  forced  up  for  a  time 
the  price  of  the  native  wool,  would  they  not  thereby  have 
abandoned  a  yet  more  safe  and  permanent  means  of  effecting 
the  end,  namely,  that  which  would  have  resulted  from  in- 
creasing the  demand  for  the  manufactured  commodity  ?  The 
injurious  measure  contended  for  was,  however,  happily  re- 
sisted, never,  it  is  to  be  trusted,  to  be  brought  forward  again ; 
and  the  trade  of  wool,  by  being  thrown  open  to  the  world, 
has  been  placed  on  a  far  surer  foundation  than  if  it  had  been 
made  to  rest  on  the  narrow  and  insecure  basis  of  monopoly 
and  restriction.* 

The  woollen  trade  of  England  has  been  cherished  by  the 
laws  from  early  times,  and  has  long  been  regarded  as  a  main 
branch  of  the  industry  of  the  country.  The  Romans  extended 
and  perfected  the  arts  of  spinning  and  weaving  in  Britain,  as 
in  other  of  their  provinces,  and  taught  the  natives  to  clothe 
themselves  after  the  Roman  fashion.  They  established  fac- 
tories, of  which  that  at  Winchester  was  long  distinguished. 
But  the  garments  and  woollen  fabrics  of  the  people  were  for 
the  most  part  spun  and  woven  by  themselves,  under  that 
system  of  domestic  manufacture  which  is  the  first  in  order  of 
time  in  all  rude  countries.  The  employment  of  spinning  and 
weaving  was  chiefly  devolved  on  females,  whence  the  term 
Spinster,  whicli  has  been  in  use  from  time  immemorial.  Ed- 
ward the  Elder,  who  died  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  925,  mar- 
ried, we  are  told,  the  daughter  of  a  shepherd  or  countryman 
of  mean  rank ;  and  being  desirous  that  his  children  should 
have  a  princely  education,  "  he  sette  his  sons  to  scole,  and 
his  daughters  he  sette  to  woll  werke,  takyne  example  of 
Charles  the  Conquestour."t 

In  the  succeeding  times  of  the  Norman  princes,  the  state 
of  the  woollen  trade  is  made  known  to  us  by  the  records  of 
customs,  subsidies,  fines,  and  fiscal  regulations.  "Wool  formed 

*  Remarks  on  Wool,  aliunde,  by  the  Author.  f   Fabian's  Chron. 

WOOL.  51 

the  chief  revenue  of  the  prince,  and  the  subject  of  continued 
exaction  on  the  people.  Sometimes  the  woollen  subsidies 
were  paid  in  kind,  but  more  generally  in  heavy  duties  laid 
upon  the  sale  or  exportation  of  the  wool.  In  these  early 
times  the  raw  material  alone  was  exported.  It  was  carried 
chiefly  to  the  Low  Countries,  where  it  was  manufactured  into 
cloths  and  worsted  stuffs  by  the  Flemings,  then  become  the 
great  weavers  of  Northern  Europe.  These  industrious  people 
maintained  their  superiority  in  the  woollen  manufacture  for 
many  ages,  and  during  this  period  acquired  that  wealth  which 
enabled  them  to  render  their  country  the  most  populous  and 
fruitful  in  Europe.  Their  chief  dependence  for  the  raw  mate- 
rial was  on  England,  which  alone  could  supply  them  in  the 
due  quantity  with  the  wool  which  their  innumerable  looms 
required.  They  returned  the  manufactured  commodity  at  a 
high  price  ;  and  yet  the  trade  was  mutually  beneficial,  and 
calculated  to  advance  the  industry  of  the  ruder,  as  well  as  the 
more  cultivated,  people.  But  Edward  III.,  soon  after  his  ac- 
cession to  the  crown,  resolved  to  wrest  the  woollen  manufac- 
ture as  much  as  possible  from  the  Flemings,  and  establish  it 
at  home.  He  encouraged  the  resort  of  foreign  artisans  to 
England ;  and,  availing  himself  of  certain  discontents  in 
Flanders,  he  invited  over  weavers,  dyers,  fullers,  and  others, 
and  established  them  in  different  parts,  affording  them  pro- 
tection and  privileges.  He  caused  it  to  be  enacted,  that  all 
merchant  strangers  and  denizens  might  buy  and  sell  within 
the  realm,  freely  and  without  interruption,  and  that  all  foreign 
clothmakers  should  be  received  from  whatever  foreign  parts 
they  came.  To  encourage  the  home  manufacture,  he  even 
resolved  to  prevent  the  exportation  of  English  wool,  and  the 
importation  of  foreign  cloths.  At  a  parliament  held  in  March 
1337,  it  was  enacted  that  no  wool  of  English  growth  should 
be  transported  beyond  sea,  and  that  none  should  wear  any 
cloths  made  beyond  sea.  But  this  statute  soon  gave  way  to 
the  exigencies  of  the  exchequer,  and  the  temptation  of  im- 
posts, licenses,  and  fines. 

52  THE  SHEEP. 

This  prince  has  been  regarded  as  the  great  founder  of  the 
manufacturing  prosperity  of  England, — with  what  justice,  let 
the  records  of  his  exchequer,  and  the  complaints  of  his  harassed 
subjects,  declare.  He  bestowed  his  favour  upon  the  woollen 
trade,  it  is  true,  but  merely  as  an  engine  for  extorting  money  ; 
and  in  no  previous  reign  had  the  exactions  on  this  part  of  the 
industry  of  the  country  been  more  grievous.  We  are  amazed 
at  the  sums  he  drew  from  forced  subsidies,  customs,  fines, 
and  otherwise.  On  one  occasion  having,  without  the  sanction 
of  Parliament,  and  contrary,  accordingly,  to  Magna  Charta, 
laid  a  heavy  impost  on  all  wool  sold  within  the  kingdom,  the 
Commons  agree  to  give  him  30,000  sacks  of  wool  for  his  re- 
lief, on  condition  that  he  should  keep  to  the  customs  ordained 
kby  law  ;  and  the  Lords,  after  humbly  praying  "  that  the  great 
wrong  set  upon  wool  be  revoked,"  offer  him  in  return  the 
tenth  sheaf  of  all  the  corn  of  their  demesnes,  and  the  tenth 
fleece  of  wool,  and  the  tenth  lamb  of  their  own  stores,  to  be 
paid  within  two  years.  The  clergy  sometimes  assisted  him, 
as,  on  one  occasion,  by  raising  for  him  20,000  sacks.  When 
these  woollen  subsidies  were  to  be  levied,  care  likewise  was 
used  that  the  king's  market  wras  not  interfered  with.  Pro- 
clamation was  sometimes  made,  "  that  no  person  buy  any 
wools  before  the  king  be  served,  whereunto  all  customers 
shall  have  an  eye."*  On  one  occasion,  the  king  having  re- 
solved to  export  20,000  sacks  on  his  own  account,  his  ready 
Parliament  enacted  that  no  man  before  that  time  should  pass 
over  any  wool  on  pain  of  treble  loss,  life  and  member ! 

Such  was  the  protection  afforded  to  the  woollen  trade  on 
the  part  of  our  earlier  governments.  By  the  increasing  power 
of  the  people,  the  exactions  of  the  prince  were  better  resisted 
in  the  following  reigns  ;  but  yet  we  recognise  little  of  just  and 
liberal  principles  in  the  legislation  of  the  times.  Guilds  and 
corporations  with  exclusive  privileges  were  multiplied,  and 
thus  monopoly  crept  into  all  the  departments  of  the  woollen 

*   Smith's  Memoirs  of  Wool. 

WOOL.  53 

trade ;  foreigners  were  treated  with  jealousy  and  injustice  ; 
and  restrictions  were  extended  to  every  branch  of  the  manu- 
facture. Still,  the  woollen  manufactures  of  the  country  con- 
tinued to  extend  ;  but  it  was  not  until  the  more  settled  times 
of  Henry  VII.  that  cloth  began  to  be  exported  in  any  quan- 
tity. But  how  little  of  this  advancement  was  due  to  the  wis- 
dom of  the  laws,  may  be  seen  from  the  statutes  which  were 
before  and  afterwards  enacted.  Certain  towns  and  districts 
were  frequently  allowed  the  exclusive  privilege  of  manufac- 
turing and  selling  certain  kinds  of  goods.  An  act  of  Henry 
VIII.  declares,  that  worsted  yarn  is  the  "  private  commoditie" 
of  the  city  of  Norwich,  and  county  of  Norfolk ;  and  therefore 
enacts  "  that  none  shall  be  transported,  nor  shipped  to  be 
transported,  nor  bought,  nor  caused  to  be  bought,  by  any  but 
weavers  in  the  said  city  or  county."  Another  act  recites, 
that  "  the  city  of  York  afore  this  time  hath  been  upholden 
principally  by  making  and  weaving  coverlets,  and  that  the 
same  have  not  been  made  elsewhere  in  the  said  county  till  of 
late,  and  that  this  manufacture  had  spread  itself  into  other 
parts  of  the  county,  and  was  thereby  debased  and  discredited ;" 
and  therefore  ordains,  "  That  none  shall  make  coverlets  in 
Yorkshire  but  inhabitants  of  the  city  of  York."  An  act  of 
the  same  prince  revives  certain  older  laws  against  enclosures, 
and  another  limits  the  number  of  Sheep  which  any  one  shall 
keep,  on  account,  it  is  stated,  of  the  rise  in  the  price  of 
victual  and  clothing.  By  an  act  of  William  and  Mary,  it  is 
ordained  that  no  clothier  out  of  a  burgh,  market  town,  or 
corporate  town,  shall  have  above  one  loom ;  that  no  weaver 
dwelling  out  of  a  city  shall  have  above  two  looms ;  that  no 
weaver  shall  be  either  tucker,  fuller,  or  dyer ;  that  no  fuller 
or  tucker  shall  keep  a  loom  ;  that  no  person  shall  cause  any 
white  broad  woollen  cloths  to  be  made  but  in  a  city,  or  where 
such  cloths  have  been  made  for  the  space  of  ten  years  before  ; 
that  no  weaver  dwelling  out  of  a  city  shall  have  above  two 
apprentices  at  one  time  ;  and  that  none  shall  set  up  weaving 
unless  he  have  been  apprentice  to,  or  have  exercised  the 

54  THE  SHEEP. 

same,  for  seven  years,  and  so  forth.  Absurd  as  are  these, 
and  many  more  of  the  laws  of  the  times,  the  woollen  trade 
arid  manufacture  had  been  continually  extending ;  and,  in 
the"  glorious  reign  of  Elizabeth,  became  one  of  the  main 
sources  of  national  opulence  and  power. 

With  the  progressive  increase,  during  the  preceding  reigns, 
of  the  foreign  export  trade  in  manufactured  goods,  the  ex- 
portation of  raw  wool  had  been  gradually  declining,  and 
became  continually  less  a  means  of  supplying  the  wants  of 
needy  princes.  Elizabeth,  with  a  provident  sagacity,  did  not 
prohibit  the  exportation  of  the  raw  material ;  and  thus,  while 
she  supported  the  manufacturer,  she  encouraged  the  growth  of 
native  wool,  by  suffering  the  growers  to  send  their  produce 
to  the  most  suitable  market.  This  wise  policy  had  a  happy 
effect ;  while  events  arose,  in  connexion  with  the  melancholy 
history  of  other  countries,  which  gave  a  new  vigour  to  the 
manufacturing  industry  of  England. 

Charles  V.  had  succeeded,  together  with  his  other  fair 
dominions,  to  the  sovereignty  of  the  Low  Countries,  then 
including  the  Dutch  provinces.  The  doctrines  of  the  Refor- 
mation, so  well  suited  to  the  genius  of  a  frugal  and  calcu- 
lating people,  had  early  made  a  silent  progress  in  the  coun- 
try ;  but  here,  as  elsewhere,  the  strength  of  authoritv  was 
put  forth  to  repress  the  spreading  heresy.  Civil  grievances 
were  added  to  religious  quarrels.  Charles  lived  to  witness 
and  deplore  the  growing  discontent  of  his  once  faithful  people; 
but  it  was  reserved  for  his  son  and  successor  Philip  II.  to  fan 
the  embers  of  rebellion  into  flame,  and  complete  the  ruin  of 
his  rich  and  peaceful  provinces.  The  people,  who  had  been 
termed  in  contempt  Geux,  or  beggars,  by  the  minions  of  the 
Court,  assumed,  with  bitter  irony,  the  wallet  and  the  staff  as 
the  ensign  of  their  confederacy,  and  everywhere  made  head 
against  their  oppressors.  A  civil  war  ensued,  rendered  hor- 
rible by  the  merciless  severity  with  which  it  was  carried  on ; 
by  the  sacking  of  rich  towns,  and  other  excesses  of  merce- 
nary soldiers  ;  by  confiscations  and  judicial  murders.  After 

WOOL.  55 

a  time,  ten  of  the  provinces  remained  subjugated,  but  seven 
achieved  their  independence,  and  became,  under  the  name  of 
the  Seven  United  Provinces,  or  Republic  of  Holland,  one  of 
the  most  powerful  nations  of  Europe.  On  the  death  of  Philip, 
in  1598,  the  subdued  provinces  enjoyed  a  kind  of  repose  ;  but 
the  commerce  that  made  them  powerful  was  gone,  and  all 
their  arts  were  in  a  state  of  decay.  During  forty  years  of 
war  and  misrule,  multitudes  of  artisans  had  migrated  with 
their  families  to  other  countries,  and  in  an  especial  degree  to 
England,  where  they  were  received  with  sympathy  and  fa- 
vour. It  is  supposed  that  about  50,000  of  these  unfortunate 
refugees  found  shelter  in  England  soon  after  the  first  inva- 
sion of  the  barbarous  Duke  of  Alva.  They  were  settled  in 
all  parts  of  the  kingdom,  and  contributed  to  give  that  perfec- 
tion to  the  English  manufactures,  particularly  of  the  finer 
stuffs,  in  which  they  were  formerly  deficient.  This,  in  con- 
nexion with  the  growing  commerce  of  the  country,  extended 
the  woollen  trade  of  England  to  every  part  of  the  world,  and 
made  it  be  regarded  as  the  most  important  department  of 
national  industry.  The  illustrious  De  Witt,  in  lamenting 
the  destruction  of  the  woollen  manufacture  of  the  Nether- 
lands, first  by  injurious  laws  at  home,  and  then  by  the  cruelty 
of  the  Duke  of  Alva,  observes,  that  afterwards  "  The  English 
by  degrees  began  to  vend  their  manufactures  throughout 
Europe,  and  then  they  became  potent  at  sea ;  and  he  who  is 
powerful  at  sea  is  a  lord  at  land,  and  more  especially  a  king 
of  England. — " 

During  the  reigns  of  the  princes  of  the  House  of  Stuart, 
the  woollen  trade  continued  in  a  languishing  condition.  The 
commercial  legislation  of  this  period,  with  respect  to  wool, 
was  marked  by  the  spirit  of  monopoly  and  exclusiveness,  a 
short-sighted  regard  to  little  interests,  a  petty  intermeddling 
with  the  details  of  trade,  and  a  jealousy  of  particular  classes, 
interests,  and  countries.  The  Dutch,  then  becoming  a  ma- 
nufacturing as  well  as  a  trading  people,  were  the  subjects  of 
especial  jealousy  and  dislike.  They  had  become  the  princi- 

56  THE  SHEEP. 

pal  dyers  of  Europe.  King  James  I.,  in  the  plenitude  of  his 
wisdom,  resolved  to  take  the  process  of  dyeing  into  his  own 
hands.  He  gave  exclusive  patents  to  persons  at  home  to 
perform  it,  and  ordained  that  no  cloth  but  that  dyed  in  Eng- 
land should  b.e  exported.  The  Dutch  and  Germans  retaliated, 
and  refused  to  take  cloth  dyed  in  England.  But  jealousy 
was  not  confined  to  aliens.  The  woollen  manufacture  had 
taken  root,  and  was  making  progress  in  the  sister  Island, 
when  addresses  were  presented  to  the  King  and  both  Houses 
of  Parliament,  "  beseeching  his  Majesty  to  take  effectual 
measures  to  prevent  the  growth  of  the  woollen  manufactures 
in  Ireland/'  The  exportation  of  Irish  wool  to  any  country 
but  England  was  rendered  a  felony  ;  and  the  importation  of 
manufactured  goods  into  England  itself  was  prevented  by 
restrictions  equivalent  to  a  prohibition.  The  exportation, 
even,  of  our  English  wool,  was  rigidly  prohibited ;  and  the 
protection  given  to  stranger  artisans  was  so  counteracted 
by  the  miserable  laws  of  corporations,  that  numbers  of  the 
former  refugees  quitted  the  country  in  disgust. 

During  the  reigns  of  Queen  Anne  and  the  two  first  sove- 
reigns of  the  House  of  Hanover,  the  home  consumption  of 
woollen  goods  greatly  increased,  but  the  foreign  woollen 
trade  remained  nearly  stationary.  During  the  first  part  of 
the  reign  of  George  III.,  it  progressively  extended,  but  yet 
not  to  a  degree  corresponding  with  the  increasing  wealth  of 
the  country.  The  chief  demand  was  for  the  West  India 
Islands  and  the  North  American  Colonies.  After  the  year 
1773,  a  revolution  occurred  in  manufacturing  industry,  which 
may  be  said  to  have  changed  the  condition  of  human  society. 
Machinery  was  applied  to  the  fabrication  of  cotton,  and  the 
stupendous  power  of  steam  was  called  into  more  extended 
action.  First  came  the  Spinning-jenny,  by  which  a  child 
could  direct  a  hundred  spindles  and  more,  all  at  a  time  ;  then 
the  beautiful  Frame  of  Arkwright,  which  required  merely 
that  the  raw  material  should  be  supplied,  in  order  to  be  spun 
into  threads  of  surpassing  fineness ;  then  the  Mule-jenny ; 

WOOL.  57 

and  last  the  Power-loom,  which  substituted  mechanical  for  hu- 
man power  in  the  forming  of  the  cloth.  A  similar  machinery 
was  applied  to  the  spinning  and  weaving  of  wool,  and  the 
whole  processes  of  the  art  were  changed.  The  variety,  qua- 
lity, and  cheapness  of  the  productions  increased  in  a  won- 
derful degree ;  and,  notwithstanding  the  amazing  extension 
of  the  use  of  cotton  in  furniture,  clothing,  and  dress,  the  con- 
sumption of  wool  in  England  has  not  only  not  diminished, 
but  is  at  this  time  greater  than  in  any  former  age. 

The  number  of  Sheep  in  the  British  Islands  has  been  va- 
riously computed  at  from  thirty  to  thirty-five  millions.  Tak- 
ing the  latter  sum,  which  probably  falls  below  the  real 
amount,  and  assuming  the  produce,  after  making  allowance 
for  the  deficient  weight  of  the  wool  of  slaughtered  sheep  and 
lambs,  to  be  4|  lb.  the  fleece,  the  total  quantity  produced 
will  be  .  ...  157,500,000  lb. 

Whereof  are  exported  in  the  raw  state,  4,603,799 

Leaving  to  be  manufactured,  .         152,896,201  lb. 

And  assuming  the  price  to  be  Is.  3d.  per  lb., 

the  value  of  the  raw  material  will  be     L.9,556,012  11     3 
The   value   of  foreign    wool   imported, 

56,700,895  lb.  at  2s.  6d.,  is        .  7,087,61117     6 

L.16,643,624     8     9 

Supposing,  then,  the  value  of  the  manufactured  commo- 
dity to  be  2|  times  that  of  the  raw  material,  the  value  of 
manufactured  woollen  goods  produced  in  Britain  will  be 
L.41,609,061  : 1  :  10. 

This  great  national  manufacture  supplies  a  larger  internal 
consumption  than  takes  place  in  any  other  country ;  and  affords 
a  surplus,  valued  at  between  six  and  seven  millions  sterling, 
besides  yarn,  valued  at  about  half  a  million,  for  an  export 
trade  to  all  parts  of  the  world,  being  more  than  one-eighth 

58  THE  SHEEP. 

part  of  the  whole  export  trade  of  the  kingdom.  The  woollen 
trade  is,  therefore,  of  surpassing  importance  to  the  nation. 
It  has  to  contend  with  the  fiscal  regulations,  and  the  increas- 
ing production  and  rivalry  of  other  countries  ;  but  hitherto 
the  superior  capital,  machinery,  and  industry  of  the  country, 
and  the  facilities  of  an  extended  commerce,  have  given  advan- 
tages to  the  British  manufacturer  which  no  European  coun- 
try as  yet  possesses. 

This  brief  account  of  the  nature  and  properties  of  wool, 
will  prepare  us  for  considering  the  characters  of  the  various 
breeds  of  Sheep  which  have  been  naturalized  in  these  Islands. 


The  Sheep  of  this  race  inhabit  the  group  of  Islands  and 
Islets  which  lie  to  the  north  of  the  Pentland  Firth,  extending 
to  about  the  sixty-first  degree  of  north  latitude.  They  have 
been  in  numerous  cases  intermixed  with  Dutch  Sheep,  brought 
by  the  fishing-craft  which  frequent  these  northern  seas,  and 
likewise  with  the  Sheep  of  the  Main.  They  thus  differ  in 
some  degree  in  the  different  islands,  and  even  in  different 
flocks  of  the  same  island  ;  but  they  have  manifestly  a  common 
origin  with  the  Sheep  of  Norway  and  other  parts  of  Northern 

These  wild  little  Sheep  are  possessed  of  a  fur  consisting 
partly  of  hair  and  partly  of  fine  wool.  They  are  of  different 
colours,  black,  brown,  or  white  ;  and  more  often  they  are  of 
a  gray  colour,  from  the  mixture  of  black  and  white,  and  are 
often  curiously  streaked.  There  are  horns  in  both  sexes,  but 
more  generally  they  are  wanting  in  the  females,  and  some- 
times in  the  males.  Their  horns  are  short,  and  often  so  straight 
and  upright,  as  to  resemble  those  of  the  Goat.  Their  tails. are 
short  and  broad,  and  their  limbs  slender,  their  aspect  is 
wild,  and  their  motions  are  active. 


These  Sheep  have  acquired  the  characters  which  fit  them 
for  the  condition  in  which  they  are  placed.  The  country 
which  they  inhabit  possesses  a  climate  eminently  cold  and 
humid,  and  is  exposed  to  continual  gusts  and  storms.  Scarce 
a  tree  is  to  be  found,  or  a  shrubby  plant,  beyond  the  heath 
which  covers  the  soil.  Many  of  the  islets  are  little  else  than 
rocks,  with  a  covering  of  peat,  washed  by  the  spray  of  the 
boisterous  seas  which  surround  them,  and  occupied  only  by  a 
few  Sheep  left  to  find  their  own  food.  Under  these  circum- 
stances, the  Sheep  are  small  in  size,  but  hardy,  and  capable 
of  subsisting  under  great  privations  of  food.  The  wethers 
may  be  fattened,  on  a  medium,  to  6  or  7  lb.  the  quarter.  At 
certain  seasons  they  find  their  way  from  the  mountains  to  the 
shores,  and  feed  on  the  fuci  and  other  marine  plants.  It  is 
remarkable  to  see  them,  on  the  receding  of  the  tide,  running 
down  from  the  hills,  as  if  possessing  an  instinctive  knowledge 
of  the  time  of  ebb.  They  remain  feeding  while  the  sea  allows ; 
and  sometimes  they  are  caught  by  the  surrounding  tide  and 
drowned.  Sometimes  they  are  unable,  from  exhaustion,  to 
ascend  again  the  cliffs  of  the  coast,  and  so  perish  ;  sometimes 
they  are  driven  into  coves,  where  they  are  imprisoned  until 
the  retiring  tide  permits  them  to  escape.  It  is  remarkable 
that  these  Sheep  feed  readily  on  animal  substances.  One  of 
the  greatest  resources  in  some  of  the  islands  for  keeping 
them,  when  no  other  provender  exists,  is  fish,  which  are  dried 
on  the  rocky  shores  for  that  purpose.  These  Sheep  manifest, 
in  their  habits,  the  rudeness  of  their  condition.  The  rams 
will  often  set  upon  the  other  sheep  of  the  flock  if  wounded, 
and  destroy  them.  They  will  furiously  attack  the  females 
and  new-born  lambs,  as  if,  in  the  dreary  circumscribed  islets 
which  they  inhabit,  they  had  acquired  the  instinct  of  endea- 
vouring to  prevent  the  too  great  multiplication  of  their  num- 
bers. The  ewes,  conscious  of  the  danger,  make  their  escape 
at  the  time  of  lambing,  that  they  may  bring  forth  their  young 
in  secret.  When  brought  to  the  richer  countries,  these  wild 
creatures  make  every  effort  to  escape  from  the  enclosures 

60  THE  SHEEP. 

which  confine  them,  find  their  way  to  the  nearest  elevated 
grounds,  and  wander  from  place  to  place.  They  crop  the  tops 
of  herbs  in  the  manner  of  goats,  and  endeavour  to  reach  the 
branches  of  shrubs  and  trees.  Their  descendants,  for  more 
than  one  generation,  retain  the  wild  habits  of  the  race. 

Of  these  Sheep,  the  least  mixed  with  foreign  blood  are  those 
of  the  remoter  Islands,  chiefly  of  Zetland.  The  Sheep  of 
Orkney  are  of  a  more  mixed  descent,  and  the  impure  breeds 
have  not  the  fineness  of  wool  which  distinguishes  the  ancient 
race.  In  these  animals,  the  hair  grows  mixed  with  the  wool 
all  over  the  body.  The  wool  falls  off  at  the  commencement 
of  the  warmer  season,  leaving  the  hair  to  protect  the  animal. 
Previous  to  the  winter  months,  the  wool  has  again  grown, 
and,  along  with  the  hair,  forms  a  thick  fur,  suited  to  afford  a 
covering  during  the  intense  rigour  of  the  colder  season.  The 
usual  practice  is  to  pluck  off  the  wool,  and  not  to  shear  it. 
This  practice  has  been  described  as  rude  and  cruel.  It  is, 
however,  the  method  of  treatment  which  is  the  best  adapted 
for  obtaining  the  wool  unmixed  with  the  hairs,  which  would 
render  it  unsuited  for  being  spun  and  woven.  The  wool  may, 
in  this  manner,  be  taken  from  the  skin  without  violence,  and 
would  fall  off  naturally,  and  be  left  amongst  the  heaths  and 
in  the  bogs.  The  wool  is  scarcely  ever  washed  before  being 
pulled,  and  the  quantity  is  very  small,  not  exceeding  from  l£ 
to  2  Ib.  in  the  unwashed  state.  It  is  remarkable  for  its  soft- 
ness and  the  tenuity  of  its  filaments.  It  is  admirably  suited 
for  being  made  into  hose  and  fine  flannels,  but  is  deficient  in 
the  property  of  felting,  and  is  therefore  ill  adapted  for  the 
making  of  cloths.  The  black-coloured  wool  is  the  most 
valued  for  the  making  of  hose  and  caps,  because  it  does  not 
require  the  addition  of  dyes.  The  hides  with  the  wool  form 
beautiful  pelisses,  and  would  be  valuable  on  this  account, 
were  such  dresses  in  demand  in  this  country. 

The  Sheep,  over  a  great  part  of  these  islands,  are  pastured 
in  common,  and  the  general  treatment  of  them  is  rude  in  a 
remarkable  degree.  The  animals  are  often  left  entirely  to 


their  own  resources  in  the  bleak  and  desolate  islands  in  which 
they  are  imprisoned.  They  are  collected  by  being  hunted  to- 
gether once  a-year,  stripped  of  their  fleeces,  marked  by  their 
respective  owners,  and  then  turned  adrift,  until  such  as  sur- 
vive are  caught  again  in  the  following  year,  and  subjected  to 
the  same  treatment.  In  all  cases,  the  number  of  Rams  is 
allowed  to  be  disproportioned  to  that  of  the  Ewes ;  and,  in 
many  cases,  the  number  of  the  sexes  are  nearly  equal.  When 
Sheep  are  wanted  from  the  pastures,  they  are  run  down  by 
dogs  ;  and  hence  these  poor  creatures  acquire  as  great  a  ter- 
ror for  the  dog  as  in  other  countries  they  do  for  the  wolf  or 
other  beasts  of  prey.  The  dogs,  termed  Had  or  Sheep  Dogs, 
are  taught  to  select  a  particular  Sheep,  and  run  him  down  ; 
and  curious  old  laws  existed  regarding  the  property  and  con- 
trol of  these  animals.  Under  the  whole  of  this  barbarous 
system,  the  mortality  is  excessive ;  all  the  profit  to  be  de- 
rived from  a  proper  management  of  a  flock  of  sheep  is  lost ; 
and  all  the  means  are  foregone  of  improving  the  breed,  by  the 
selection  of  the  male  and  female  parents. 

It  is  painful  to  draw  such  a  picture  of  neglect,  as  appli- 
cable to  the  rural  economy  of  any  part  of  a  country  like  Bri- 
tain. Yet  it  is  consoling  to  know  that  the  seeds  of  improve- 
ment are  scattered  in  these  long-neglected  Islands.  In  seve- 
ral of  them  are  settled  various  landed  gentlemen,  who  are 
equal  in  intelligence  to  any  in  the  kingdom,  and  who  have 
begun  to  give  the  due  attention  to  the  resources  of  their 
country.  The  efforts  of  such  individuals  to  improve  the  do- 
mestic animals  of  their  estates  cannot  fail  to  meet  with  suc- 
cess, nor  the  benefits  of  their  example  to  be  gradually  dif- 
fused. The  power  of  steam  has  further  been  called  into  ope- 
ration, to  bring  those  remote  Islands  into  contact  with  the 
markets  of  the  South  ;  and  now  the  breeders,  instead  of  suf- 
fering their  Sheep  to  become  the  prey  of  eagles,  ravens,  and 
gulls,  and  to  perish  through  hunger  and  neglect,  have  the 
means  of  carrying  their  rich  and  delicate  mutton  direct  to  the 
best  markets  of  consumption  in  the  kingdom. 

62  THE  SHEEP. 

A  .question  of  economical  interest  for  these  Islands  is, 
whether  the  existing  breeds  should  be  preserved,  or  new 
ones  substituted.  The  interests  of  individuals  may  be  ex- 
pected to  lead  them  to  the  latter  course,  at  least  to  the  ex- 
tent of  crossing  the  native  races  with  superior  stock.  In 
this  manner  an  immediate  profit  may  be  expected  ;  and  it  is 
not  to  be  supposed  that  individual  breeders  will  abandon  a 
mean  of  present  profit  for  one  more  distant  and  contingent. 
Under  this  system,  indeed,  the  pure  Scandinavian  Breed  will 
diminish  in  numbers,  and  ultimately  disappear ;  but  this 
could  scarcely  be  regretted,  if  a  more  useful  class  of  animals 
were  to  be  substituted.  If  it  were  wished  to  preserve  the 
ancient  race  in  such  of  the  Islands  as  yet  produce  them,  then 
the  attention  of  breeders  should  be  directed  to  the  proper 
management  of  their  flocks,  to  better  feeding,  and  to  long 
and  persevering  care  in  the  selection  of  the  males  and  females. 
Without  attention  to  these  things,  the  present  race  of  Zet- 
land Sheep  can  never  be  recovered  from  the  degeneracy  into 
which  it  has  fallen  during  ages  of  maltreatment  and  neglect. 

The  Merino  Sheep  have  been  tried  for  the  purpose  of  cross- 
ing the  native  race ;  but,  as  might  have  been  anticipated 
from  the  habitudes  of  the  Merino  parents,  the  progeny  was 
found  unfitted  to  withstand  the  rigour  of  the  climate,  and  the 
exposed  situation  of  the  country.  The  Cheviot  Sheep  have, 
however,  been  used  for  crossing  with  advantage,  and  appear 
to  be  the  breed  which  is  greatly  the  best  for  the  purpose. 

The  Short-tailed  Sheep  of  Northern  Europe  had  also  been 
early  carried  to  the  Hebrides,  doubtless  by  the  Norwegians. 
Some  of  the  descendants  of  these  Sheep  remain,  but  only  in 
scattered  remnants,  which  are  rapidly  disappearing,  their 
size  being  diminutive,  and  the  interest  of  the  breeders  having 
everywhere  led  them  to  adopt  breeds  of  more  economical 
value.  Polycerate  Sheep,  too,  are  sometimes  found  in  the 
Islands  of  Scotland,  doubtless  the  descendants  of  the  same 
race  in  Iceland  and  the  north  of  Europe,  but  they  are  gene- 
rally worthless,  and  are  nearly  extinct. 



Although  the  early  inhabitants  of  North  Britain  directed 
more  attention  to  the  Goat  than  to  the  Sheep,  it  appears 
that  Sheep  were  reared  by  them  in  some  numbers  in  the 
higher  countries,  and  largely  in  the  plains,  when  the  country 
had  become  cleared  of  wood  and  partially  cultivated.  Rem- 
nants of  the  older  races  existed  up  to  a  late  period  in  the 
last  century;  but  on  the  introduction  of  Sheep  of  a  larger 
size,  and  of  more  economical  value,  the  older  races  progres- 
sively disappeared,  until  a  few  scattered  flocks  only  were 
left  in  some  of  the  more  distant  parts  of  the  country,  chiefly 
in  the  Hebrides  and  Central  Highlands.  These  Sheep  pre- 
sented different  characters,  according  to  the  nature  of  the 
localities  in  which  they  were  reared ;  but  they  may  be  de- 
scribed, in  general,  as  being  of  small  size,  and  lank  agile 
forms  ;  as  having  generally  short  slender  horns  ;  and  as  hav- 
ing a  soft  wool,  fitted  for  the  making  of  flannels,  but  not 
well  adapted  for  felting.  They  had  the  tails  long,  and  not 
short  and  flat  like  the  Sheep  of  northern  Europe ;  so  that 
they  differed  entirely  in  race  from  those  which,  at  a  sub- 
sequent period,  were  introduced  into  the  remoter  Islands 
by  the  Scandinavian  pirates.  They  were  of  various  colours, 
frequently  brown,  and  often  this  brown  colour  remained  on 
the  face  when  the  rest  of  the  body  had  become  white  ;  on 
which  account  they  sometimes  received  the  name  of  the  Dun- 
faced  breed.  They  were  exceedingly  wild,  and  hardly  to  be 
confined  by  common  enclosures.  They  were  hardy  in  a  re- 
markable degree,  subsisting  on  scanty  fare,  and  bearing  the 
rudest  treatment,  and  were  remarkably  exempt  from  those 
maladies  which  frequently  produce  such  ravages  in  the  mo- 
dern races. 

The  Soft-woolled  Sheep  may  be  said  to  be  now  nearly  ex- 
tinct as  a  separate  variety  in  Scotland  ;  but  kindred  races 

64  THE    SHEEP. 

still  exist  in  Wales  and  Ireland,  the  remnants,  we  may  be- 
lieve, of  the  ancient  Sheep  of  the  country. 


The  Sheep  of  Wales,  inhabiting  a  country  partly  of  moun- 
tains and  partly  of  valleys  and  plains,  may  be  expected  to 
present  great  diversities  of  character.  Accordingly,  we  find 
a  variety  of  breeds,  from  the  wilder  races  of  the  higher 
mountains  to  the  larger  Sheep  of  the  lower  country.  The 
latter  classes  of  Sheep,  however,  are  not  truly  Welsh.  They 
are  the  Leicester,  Cotswold,  and  other  Sheep  of  the  English 
plains',  either  pure  or  mixed  with  the  races  of  the  mountains. 
It  is  the  Mountain  Sheep  alone  that  we  are  to  regard  as  the 
genuine  Sheep  of  Wales,  the  descendants,  it  maybe  believed, 
of  the  ancient  Sheep  of  South  Britain. 

Of  the  Mountain  Sheep  of  Wales  there  are  numerous 
minor  varieties,  but  generally  they  may  be  divided  into  two 
groups,  which  may  be  regarded  as  the  types  to  which  all 
the  others  have  more  or  less  affinity.  A  great  part  of  the 
mountains  of  Wales,  it  is  to  be  observed,  is  absolute  com- 
mon, in  which  animals  of  every  kind  may  be  mingled  to- 
gether ;  and  however  distinct  the  original  races  may  have 
been,  it  is  not  to  be  supposed  that  they  can  have  remained 
without  intermixture  during  the  many  ages  in  which  Wales 
has  existed  nearly  in  its  present  state.  Notwithstanding, 
however,  of  this  amalgamation,  there  may  be  traced  the 
characters  of  two  very  distinct  groups ;  the  first,  the  wilder 
Sheep  of  the  higher  mountains  ;  the  second,  a  race  generally 
inhabiting  a  lower  range  of  pasturage,  and  possessed  of  pecu- 
liar characters.  The  first  may  be  termed  the  Sheep  of  the 
Higher  Mountains,  as  indicating  their  habitat ;  the  second, 
the  Soft-woolled  Sheep  of  Wales,  as  denoting  the  character 
of  the  fleece. 


The  Sheep  of  the  higher  mountains  are  of  small  size, 
scarcely  capable  of  fattening  to  above  5  Ib.  the  quarter,  and 
have  horns,  both  in  the  male  and  female,  slightly  curved,  and 
stretching  backwards  in  the  manner  of  the  Goat ;  their  tail 
is  of  ordinary  length  ;  they  have  a  ridge  of  coarse  hairs  pass- 
ing along  the  spine  to  the  tail,  surrounding  the  neck  and 
reaching  to  the  dewlap ;  the  wool  on  the  sides  is  of  medium 
fineness,  and  on  the  haunch  it  is  coarse  and  wiry.  The  colour 
of  the  fleece  is  black,  gray,  or  brown. 

This  remarkable  race  has  the  wool  and  aspect  of  the 
Sheep,  but  in  habits  it  rather  resembles  the  Goat.  It  seeks 
the  summits  of  mountains ;  it  vaults,  rather  than  runs  ; 
and  feeds  on  the  dry  aromatic  plants  of  mountains  in  prefer- 
ence to  the  herbage  of  the  lower  valleys.  Like  all  the  na- 
tive Sheep  of  elevated  regions,  the  fleece  of  these  wild  little 
animals  is  a  mixture  of  hair  and  wool,  so  that  their  bodies 
may  be  better  protected  from  the  inclemency  of  the  weather. 
They  are  almost  as  difficult  to  be  approached  in  their  native 
haunts  as  the  Deer  or  the  Antelope.  Some  say  that  they 
station  sentinels  on  the  higher  ground,  who  give  notice  to  the 
scattered  flock  of  the  approach  of  danger  by  a  kind  of  shrill 
bleat  resembling  a  falsetto  tone.  As  in  the  case  of  the  An- 
telope, no  sooner  is  one  alarmed,  than  all  the  others  bound 
off  together,  gazing  behind  them  as  they  run  in  the  manner 
of  the  Musmon  and  Argali.  The  rams  attack  the  ewes  at 
the  period  of  bringing  forth  their  young — a  singular  instinct, 
existing,  it  has  been  seen,  in  the  wild  races  of  the  Zetland 
and  Orkney  Islands,  and  given,  it  may  be  believed,  to  pre- 
vent the  multiplication  of  their  numbers  beyond  the  means 
of  subsistence. 

It  may  appear  remarkable  .that  this  race  should  preserve 
itself  distinct  from  the  others  with  which  the  commons  and 
mountains  of  the  country  are  stocked.  It  is  to  be  observed, 
however,  that  this  is  in  accordance  with  the  habits  of  all 
Sheep  possessing  a  peculiar  character  and  temperament. 
Thus,  the  naturalized  Merino  Sheep  never  amalgamate  tho- 


66  THE    SHEEP. 

roughly  with  the  races  with  which  they  are  mingled  in  the 
same  pastures  ;  they  collect  in  separate  flocks  upon  the 
higher  grounds,  and  crowd  together  when  alarmed ;  in  like 
manner,  if  any  of  the  breeds  of  Forest  Sheep  are  mingled 
with  those  of  the  lower  country,  they  congregate  together, 
and  pursue  their  own  range  of  pasturage.  Now,  from  what- 
ever causes  the  wild  Sheep  of  Wales  assumed  their  existing 
character,  they  have  acquired  the  habits  proper  to  their 
situation.  They  keep  by  choice  to  their  natural  habitat,  and 
herd  together ;  and  hence  it  is  that  the  original  characters 
of  the  race  have  not  merged  in  those  of  other  varieties. 

This  race  of  Sheep,  though  with  some  change  of  character, 
is  found  all  over  the  most  elevated  parts  of  Wales,  from  the 
inland  mountains  of  Glamorganshire  to  those  of  Merioneth 
and  Caernarvon.  They  are  numerous  in  Caernarvon,  and 
when  seen  by  the  traveller  have  more  the  aspect  of  Dogs  and 
Foxes  than  of  Sheep. 

As  this  race  becomes  naturalized  in  a  lower  range  of 
mountains,  or  in  any  way  is  placed  under  more  favourable 
circumstances  with  respect  to  the  supplies  of  food,  it  becomes 
enlarged  in  size,  and  loses  part  of  its  natural  rudeness.  Ac- 
cordingly, gradations  are  observed  in  the  character  of  the 
race,  from  the  more  elevated  and  barren  mountains,  to  those 
which  are  of  a  lower  altitude,  or  more  productive  of  herbage. 
The  Sheep  of  Radnor  and  some  other  parts  are  of  the  same 
descent,  but  are  so  changed  by  the  more  favourable  circum- 
stances under  which  they  are  reared,  that  they  are  looked 
upon  as  distinct  breeds.  They  have  manifestly,  however,  a 
common  origin  with  the  wilder  Sheep  of  the  higher  moun- 
tains ;  and  there  are  everywhere  examples  to  shew  the  pro- 
gressive steps  by  which  the  wilder  race  may  assume  a  new 
set  of  characters,  in  consequence  of  better  food  and  atten- 
tion to  the  parents  in  breeding.  All  the  varieties  of  the 
Welsh  Sheep  which  have  an  affinity  with  the  race  of  the 
higher  mountains  have  horns,  and  have  more  or  less  of  black 
hair  on  the  face  and  legs. 


The  wildest  race  of  Sheep  in  Wales  is  susceptible  of  im- 
provement ;  but,  to  accomplish  this  to  the  required  degree, 
a  long  course  of  selection,  combined  with  a  proper  practice 
with  respect  to  feeding,  is  required.  But  this  wilder  breed 
presents  no  characters  which  can  render  it  expedient  to 
expend  time  and  capital  in  cultivating  it  in  preference  to 
others  already  formed.  The  basis  is  bad,  and  the  inter- 
ests of  breeders  will  be  served,  either  by  substituting  at 
once  a  superior  breed,  or  by  crossing  the  native  race  until 
one  with  better  properties  has  been  produced.  Two  races 
of  improved  Sheep  exist  in  this  country,  which  might 
either  supplant  the  existing  races  o'f  the  Welsh  mountains, 
or  be  employed  for  crossing  until  a  new  class  of  properties 
were  produced.  These  are  the  South  Down  and  the  Cheviot 
breeds.  The  South  Down  is  rather  suited  to  a  dry  than  a 
moist  climate,  and  its  natural  habitat  is  not  similar  to  the 
humid  soils  of  Wales.  It  is  conceived,  therefore,  that  the 
Cheviot  breed,  though  inferior  as  a  breed  to  the  South  Down, 
presents  a  combination  of  properties  which  may  adapt  it 
better  to  this  part  of  the  country.  It  is,  in  all  useful  pro- 
perties, vastly  superior  to  the  indigenous  race,  and  has  al- 
ready been  acclimated  in  countries  more  elevated  and  inhos- 
pitable than  the  highest  ranges  of  the  mountains  of  Wales. 


The  most  characteristic  race  of  Sheep  in  Wales  is  that 
which  has  been  termed  the  Soft-woolled  breed.  It  may  re- 
ceive this  name  on  account  of  the  quality  of  its  wool,  which, 
though  mixed  with  hairs,  is  much  less  so  than  that  of  the 
wilder  breeds  referred  to,  and  has  a  softness  and  tenuity  of 
filament  which  peculiarly  fit  it  for  the  making  of  flannels, 
one  of  the  staple  native  manufactures  of  the  Principality.  It 
may,  however,  be  more  appropriately  termed  the  White-nosed 

68  THE  SHEEP. 

Breed,  from  a  character  which  distinguishes  it  from  every 
other  in  Wales. 

This  race  of  Sheep  is  spread  over  the  whole  of  Wales,  and 
is  truly  the  distinctive  breed  of  the  country.  The  animals 
are  of  small  size,  usually  weighing  from  5  Ib.  to  7  lb.  the 
quarter,  when  grown  and  fat.  They  are  of  the  long-tailed 
variety  of  Sheep,  thus  agreeing  with  the  Sheep  of  the  Celtic 
nations  of  Europe,  and  differing  from  those  of  the  Scandina- 
vians. The  males  have  horns,  which  are  thin,  slightly  curved, 
and  bent  backwards  ;  the  females  are  generally  destitute  of 
horns,  and  sometimes  the  males.  Their  noses  are  white,  or 
pink-coloured.  They  have  lengthened  hair  beneath  the  throat 
like  a  beard.  Their  figure  is  very  slender,  and  their  posterior 
limbs  long,  as  if  to  fit  them  for  vaulting  as  well  as  running. 
Their  neck  is  thin,  and  thrown  back  in  the  manner  of  the 
Antelope  or  Deer.  The  fur  of  the  face  and  body  is  white, 
but  sometimes,  as  in  almost  all  breeds  of  Sheep,  individuals 
wholly  brown  or  black  present  themselves. 

These  Sheep  have  all  the  wild  characters  of  a  mountain 
breed.  They  are  of  wandering  habits,  and  range  from  pas- 
ture to  pasture ;  they  prefer  the  plants  of  mountains  to  the 
more  succulent  and  nutritive  herbage  of  plains  ;  they  delight 
to  browse  on  the  leaves  of  the  ivy,  and  on  the  shoots  of  bitter 
shrubs,  and  they  rise  upon  their  hinder  legs  to  reach  them 
after  the  manner  of  the  Goat.  They  are  fond  of  taking  their 
station  on  elevated  points,  and  making  their  way  amongst 
crags  and  cliffs.  They  are  wary  and  timid,  and,  like  the 
wilder  Sheep  of  the  mountain  summits,  give  notice  of  ap- 
proaching danger  by  a  signal.  They  steal  down  from  the 
hills  at  night,  and  make  inroads  into  the  fields  of  wheat  and 
other  green  plants.  They  are  with  difficulty  confined  by  arti- 
ficial barriers,  leaping  over  walls,  and  making  their  way 
through  the  interstices  of  hedges  ;  nay,  sometimes  they  have 
been  known,  when  driven  to  a  distance,  to  escape  from  the 
vigilance  of  their  keepers,  and  regain  their  native  mountains. 
They  are  driven  to  London  and  other  markets  of  consump- 


tion,  being  generally  kept  by  the  way  to  be  fattened  in  the 
richer  pastures.  Their  mutton,  like  that  of  all  the  Sheep  of 
Wales,  is  excellent,  and,  when  fat,  brings  a  high  price. 
Many  carcasses  are  sold  in  London  under  the  name  of  Welsh 
mutton,  when,  in  truth,  they  are  the  produce  of  crosses  of  dif- 
ferent kinds. 

The  wool  weighs  from  1  Ib.  to  2  Ib.  the  fleece ;  it  is  never 
free  from  hairs  or  kemps  ;  it  possesses  the  character  of  long 
wool,  and  is,  therefore,  suited  for  the  making  of  flannels, 
hose,  and  similar  loose  fabrics,  rather  than  cloths  ;  never- 
theless, all  the  home  stuffs  for  country  use  were  formerly 
made  of  this  and  the  other  kinds  of  native  wool.  The  Welsh 
long  preserved  the  simplicity  of  ancient  manners,  and  manu- 
factured their  woollen  stuifs  at  home.  The  cheapness  of 
mechanical  labour  is  rapidly  putting  an  end  to  this  domestic 
manufacture  ;  to  the  increase,  doubtless,  of  the  resources  of 
the  country,  though  not  perhaps  to  the  advancement  of 
rural  industry  and  happiness.  A  singular  character  exists 
in  the  case  of  this  race  of  sheep.  The  wool  of  the  neck 
tends  to  fall  off  that  part  of  the  body,  and  hence  it  is  a  fre- 
quent practice  to  clip  the  wool  of  the  neck  and  face  before 

The  Sheep  of  Anglesea  are  allied  to  this  race,  but,  being 
reared  in  a  lower  country,  they  are  larger  than  the  common 
Sheep  of  the  mountains.  Crosses  have  been  made  from 
time  to  time  with  the  Sheep  of  Anglesea,  but  the  affinity  of 
the  native  race  with  the  Soft-woolled  Sheep  of  the  mountains 
is  easy  to  be  traced,  in  the  height  behind,  the  low  and  narrow 
forequarters,  and  the  character  of  the  wool.  The  attempts 
to  improve  the  old  breed  of  Anglesea  by  crossing  have  not 
been  successful,  owing,  it  may  be  believed,  to  the  want  of  per- 
severance and  system ;  and  graziers  and  butchers  prefer  the 
native  to  the  mixed  races. 

The  Old  Radnor  Sheep  have  some  characters  in  common 
with  the  White-nosed  Breed,  but  they  are  more  distinctly 
connected  with  the  Sheep  of  the  higher  mountains.  They 

70  THE  SHEEP. 

are  of  larger  size  and  better  form  than  the  White-nosed 
Breed,  fattening  to  from  7  lb.  to  9  Ib.  the  quarter.  Their  wool 
is  of  the  long  or  combing  character,  but,  like  that  of  all  the 
Sheep  of  Wales,  is  soft,  and  suited  to  the  making  of  flannels. 
It  is  to  be  observed  that  the  modern  Sheep  of  the  district, 
known  commonly  as  the  Radnor  Breed,  differ  considerably 
from  the  true  Radnors,  having  been  crossed  with  the  Shrop- 
shire and  other  breeds  of  the  low  country. 

A  staple  production  of  Wales  being  its  Sheep,  a  question 
of  much  interest  is  the  manner  in  which  the  different  breeds 
may  be  improved.  The  people  of  Wales,  with  the  attach- 
ment to  old  habits  which  distinguishes  them,  are  averse  to 
changes,  and,  in  the  case  of  their  Sheep,  there  are  obstacles 
to  improvement,  independent  of  the  habits  of  the  people.  A 
great  part  of  the  whole  mountain  pastures  is  common. 
Under  such  a  system,  it  is  difficult  to  introduce  a  beneficial 
management  of  sheep.  At  present,  the  treatment  of  the 
animals  is  defective  in  a  high  degree.  No  care  is  used  in 
the  selection  of  the  breeding  parents,  and  no  provision  is  made 
for  the  proper  feeding  of  the  animals  in  winter  :  they  are  left 
in  a  state  of  nature,  and  scarcely  looked  to  but  when  they  are 
to  be  caught  for  divesting  them  of  the  fleece.  It  is  not  un- 
common to  shear  the  lambs  in  the  first  year,  a  practice  highly 
detrimental  in  a  moist  and  elevated  country ;  but  the  still 
worse  practice  exists  of  weaning  the  lambs  at  an  early  season, 
in  order  to  milk  the  ewes.  The  lambs  born  in  March  are 
frequently  weaned  in  May,  and  the  ewes  are  milked  night 
and  morning  until  the  middle  of  September.  This  miserable 
system  is  calculated  to  destroy  the  vigour  of  the  Sheep,  and 
take  away  the  means  to  produce  and  rear  a  healthy  offspring ; 
and,  until  it  is  abandoned,  we  may  be  assured  that  the  Sheep 
of  the  Welsh  mountains  will  continue  puny  and  degenerate. 
The  substitution  of  another  breed  would  not  remedy  the  evil, 
if  this  destructive  management  were  continued,  and  there- 
fore, the  primary  improvement  of  the  Sheep  of  Wales  must 
be  a  change  of  the  system  of  management. 


'.t  were  certainly  to  be  desired,  that  the  ancient  breeds  of 
these  mountains  could  be  preserved,  as  being  naturalized  to 
the  country,  and  producing  a  kind  of  wool,  which  is  suited  to 
a  useful  class  of  manufactures  ;  yet,  undoubtedly,  individual 
breeders  will  find  it  more  for  their  interest  to  adopt  a  breed 
already  improved,  than  to  incur  the  long  delay  and  expense 
of  improving  the  existing  ones.  Crossing  will  probably  be 
resorted  to  more  frequently  than  an  entire  substitution  of  a 
new  breed  ;  and  it  is  important,  that  the  breeders  proceed 
with  judgment  in  the  system  of  crossing  which  they  adopt. 
They  should  select  the  breed  which  experience  shews  to  be 
the  best  calculated  to  amalgamate  with  the  existing  race. 
The  most  suitable  for  this  purpose  seems,  as  has  been  already 
said,  to  be  the  Cheviot,  as  being  the  inhabitants  of  an  elevated 
country,  and  producing  a  kind  of  wool,  which,  though  dif- 
ferent from  the  Welsh,  yet  brings  a  good  price  in  the 
market.  The  Southdowns,  with  all  their  valuable  properties, 
seem  scarcely  so  well  suited  to  these  humid  mountains,  as  the 
more  robust  Cheviots ;  and  it  is  remarkable,  that  the  South 
Down  Breed  is  less  in  favour  with  breeders  in  the  moist  cli- 
mate of  the  western  parts  of  this  country,  than  towards  the 
eastern  coasts,  where  the  drier  climate  is  nearer  to  that  of 
the  Chalky  Downs  which  may  be  regarded  as  the  native 
country  of  the  race.  Some  attempts  have  been  made  to  cross 
the  Welsh  Sheep  with  the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed  of  Scot- 
land. But  a  race  superior  to  the  Black-faced  Heath  Sheep 
could  exist  in  the  mountains  of  Wales,  and  the  effect  of  such 
an  intermixture  would  be  to  destroy  that  fineness  of  fleece 
which  is  proper  to  the  existing  breeds. 


Ireland,  from  the  fertility  of  the  soil,  and  the  mildness  and 
humidity  of  the  climate,  is  in  an  eminent  degree  adapted  to 

72  THE  SHEEP. 

the  production  of  the  grasses,  and  consequently,  to  the  rear- 
ing of  Sheep.  It  is  known,  that  from  early  times  Sheep  were 
amongst  the  domestic  animals  of  the  country,  affording  hy 
their  skins  and  fleeces  covering  to  the  inhabitants.  After 
the  country  fell  under  the  dominion  of  England,  the  estima- 
tion and  importance  of  this  native  production  is  chiefly  made 
known  to  us  by  cruel  laws,  prohibiting  the  exportation  of  the 
Avool  of  the  country  ;  which,  notwithstanding,  found  its  way 
in  great  quantity  from  the  west  of  Ireland  to  Flanders  and 
other  countries  where  a  demand  for  it  existed.  There  were 
then  no  large  manufactories  in  the  country  itself ;  but  the 
inhabitants,  like  the  Welsh,  prepared  their  wool  at  home. 
This  system,  the  happiest  that  could  be  for  the  industry  and 
virtue  of  the  people,  remained  even  when  the  rural  popula- 
tion was  undergoing  an  unhappy  change  ;  and  a  great  deal 
of  coarse  stuff  is  still  made  in  this  way  by  the  poor  peasantry. 
There  are  now  also  large  manufactories  of  wool  in  Ireland ; 
and,  after  supplying  these,  there  is  an  extensive  exportation 
of  the  raw  material  and  of  worsted  yarn  to  this  country. 

The  Sheep  of  Ireland  consist  partly  of  mountain  breeds, 
and  partly  of  a  large  long-woolled  race,  which  exists,  with 
very  uniform  characters,  over  the  greater  part  of  the  country. 
This  latter  race,  which  resembled  the  coarser  extinct  breeds 
of  the  midland  and  western  counties  of  England,  is  not  now 
to  be  found  in  its  unmixed  state.  It  has  undergone  an  entire 
change  by  the  effects  of  crossing,  and  is  every  where  greatly 

Of  the  Mountain  Sheep  of  Ireland  there  are  several  breeds, 
with  characters  more  or  less  distinctly  marked.  Those  of 
Kerry  and  the  west  of  Ireland  are  the  most  extended  and 
remarkable  :  that  of  the  Wicklow  Mountains  has  a  more  li- 
mited range,  but  is  the  most  valuable. 

This  breed  inhabits  the  Wicklow  Mountains  in  the  county 
of  that  name.  These  mountains  are  of  considerable  eleva- 
tion, exposed  to  high  winds,  and  possessing  a  humid  climate. 


Remnants  only  of  the  pure  breed  remain,  chiefly  in  the  vale 
of  Glenmalure,  the  original  race  having  been  very  generally 
crossed  by  the  South  Down  and  other  breeds. 

The  Sheep  of  the  Wicklow  Mountains  have  an  evident  affi- 
nity with  the  Sheep  of  Wales.  They  are  of  small  size,  but 
of  tolerably  good  form,  and  the  mutton  is  excellent.  They 
are  very  wild,  and  at  night  steal  down  to  the  lower  grounds 
to  pilfer  the  growing  corn.  They  are  destitute  of  horns  in 
both  sexes.  Their  faces  and  legs  are  white,  but  there  is  a  con- 
stant tendency  to  the  production  of  black  lambs  ;  and  there 
cannot  be  a  doubt  that  the  breed,  if  left  to  itself,  would  be- 
come wholly  of  that  colour.  A  local  law  exists  that  all  black 
lambs  shall  be  destroyed.  The  wool  is  soft  and  fine,  and 
somewhat  long  in  the  staple  ;  but  it  is  always  more  or  less 
mixed  with  hairs.  The*  quality  of  the  wool,  however,  as  well 
as  the  general  character  of  the  Sheep,  varies  with  the  eleva- 
tion. In  the  lower  rocky  hills,  as  those  which  do  not  exceed 
800  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  the  wool  is  more  fine 
and  less  mixed  with  hairs.  At  a  higher  elevation,  where 
heath  and  wet  bogs  begin,  the  Sheep  become  smaller  and 
wilder.  In  these,  a  ridge  of  bristly  hairs  extends  like  a  mane 
along  the  neck  and  spine,  and  hair  is  likewise  found  in  quan- 
tity on  the  hips  and  dewlaps,  as  in  the  wilder  sheep  of  Wales. 
There  is  here  that  adaptation  which  is  every  where  observed 
in  this  species  of  animals,  to  the  physical  conditions  of  the 
country  in  which  they  are  naturalized.  The  ridge  of  hair 
along  the  spine,  and  on  the  haunches  and  breast,  causes  the 
moisture  to  fall  off ;  nay,  the  lambs  are  born  with  a  provision 
against  the  wetness  of  the  boggy  soil,  there  being  a  large 
growth  of  hair  upon  the  parts  which  are  in  contact  with  the 
ground  when  the  animals  repose,  namely,  the  breast,  the 
limbs,  and  the  belly. 

The  county  of  Wicklow,  lying  contiguous  to  the  capital,  is 
favourably  situated  for  the  rearing  of  Sheep,  fitted  for  the 
demand  of  a  numerous  population.  The  practice  of  rearing 
lambs  for  early  consumption  has  long  prevailed  in  the  dis- 

74  THE  SHEEP. 

trict.  The  Sheep  of  the  mountains  are  purchased  by  the 
breeders  of  the  lower  farms.  The  Rams  are  turned  amongst 
the  Ewes  in  the  beginning  of  June,  and  by  the  end  of  July 
the  greater  part  of  the  latter  are  impregnated,  so  that  the 
Lambs  are  born  in  the  months  of  December  and  January. 
At  the  end  of  a  fortnight  or  more  they  are  separated  from 
the  dams,  and  placed  in  pens  in  the  feeding-house.  The 
Ewes  are  driven  into  the  feeding-house  twice  a-day,  and 
those  whose  Lambs  are  dead,  or  have  been  disposed  of,  are 
first  held  to  be  suckled,  and  then  the  Lambs  are  permitted 
to  suck  their  own  dams.  After  a  time  they  are  further  fed 
with  milk  from  the  cow  in  addition  to  that  of  the  Ewes.  In 
this  manner  the  Lambs  are  fed  for  about  six  weeks,  when 
they  are  ready  for  use.  Under  this  system,  the  inhabitants 
of  Dublin  are  supplied  with  as  fine  early  lamb  as  any  part  of 
the  United  Kingdom.  The  Wicklow  Ewes  are  good  nurses, 
and  hence  are  tolerably  well  adapted  to  this  kind  of  manage- 
ment. By  retarding  the  period  of  receiving  the  male,  the 
Ewes  are  made  to  be  impregnated  in  the  months  of  summer, 
and  having  acquired  the  habit,  the  Ewes  retain  it,  and  are 
kept  by  the  breeders  as  long  as  they  will  bear  lambs. 

From  the  quality  of  the  wool,  the  goodness  of  the  mutton, 
and  the  adaptation  of  the  females  to  the  rearing  of  early 
lambs,  the  pure  Wicklow  Mountain  Breed  was  not  undeserv- 
ing of  being  preserved  and  cultivated.  The  practice  of  cross- 
ing, however,  has  been  introduced,  and  from  the  more  im- 
mediate profit  which  it  affords,  is  more  likely  to  be  pursued 
than  a  system  of  progressive  improvement  by  breeding  from 
the  native  stock.  The  South  Down  Sheep  have  been  those 
chiefly  employed  for  crossing,  and  are,  doubtless,  calculated 
to  produce  a  race  greatly  superior  to  the  indigenous  one.  It 
may  be  believed,  however,  that  the  Cheviot,  already  accli- 
mated in  an  elevated  country,  would,  as  in  the  case  of  the 
Sheep  of  the  Welsh  Mountains,  have  been  found  better 
adapted  to  the  crossing  of  the  Sheep  of  these  moist  mountains. 
Nevertheless,  a  perseverance  in  a  course  begun,  will  be  bet- 


ter  than  &  change  of  purpose  ;  and,  whichever  race  be  pre- 
ferred, the  effect  will  be  beneficial,  and  in  a  few  generations 
the  indigenous  race  of  the  Wicklow  Mountains  may  be  ex- 
pected to  cease  to  exist  any  where  in  the  pure  state. 

The  full  benefits,  however,  of  any  kind  of  crossing  cannot 
be  obtained,  unless  a  better  system  of  management  is  intro- 
duced amongst  the  neglected  flocks  of  the  district.  At  pre- 
sent, the  smallness  of  the  possessions,  and  the  existence  of 
commons,  are  eminently  unfavourable  to  the  bringing  of  these 
Sheep  to  any  perfection,  Their  wildness  of  habits,  is  mainly 
the  result  of  the  circumstances  in  which  they  are  placed,  and 
can  only  be  corrected  by  enclosures,  by  subdivision  of  flocks, 
and  by  a  regular  system  of  management. 


The  Breeds  of  Sheep  of  Ireland  may  be  divided  into  two 
general  Classes,  those  of  the  mountains,  bogs,  and  moors, 
and  those  of  the  plains,  valleys,  and  richer  country.  In  the 
former  class,  one  breed  has  been  described,  that  of  the  Wick- 
low  mountains,  which  has  been  seen  to  be  closely  allied  to 
the  ancient  Sheep  of  Wales.  The  mountain  breeds  of  other 
parts  of  Ireland  present  very  different  characters,  and  so 
little  resemble  any  other  breeds  of  Sheep  in  the  British 
Islands,  that  we  might  suppose  them  to  have  a  distinct 
parentage,  did  we  not  know  the  great  changes  produced  in 
the  form  and  characters  of  the  species  by  the  agency  of  food, 
climate,  and  situation.  It  is  in  the  west  of  Ireland  that  we 
naturally  seek  for  the  more  ancient  races  of  the  country,  and 
we  there  find  them  mingled  in  blood  with  one  another,  and 
with  the  imported  varieties  which  have  spread  over  the  same 
tracts,  but  in  many  cases  presenting  such  characters  as  to 
indicate  the  traces  of  distinct  breeds,  under  the  common 
acceptation  of  the  term.  But  it  would  be  uninstructive  to 
discriminate  the  minor  varieties.  It  will  suffice  to  present 

76  THE  SHEEP. 

an  example  of  one,  which  may  be  regarded  as  the  type  of 
several  others,  and  whose  characters  lead  us  to  conclude 
that  it  has  remained  for  ages  in  its  present  state. 

The  Kerry  Breed  of  Sheep,  notwithstanding  of  neglect  and 
insufficient  food,  exceeds  in  size  the  breeds  of  Wales,  of  the 
Wicklow  Mountains,  and  of  many  of  the  Old  Forests  of  Eng- 
land. The  horns  are  generally  small  and  crooked,  and  some- 
times wanting  in  the  female,  although  some  of  the  allied 
varieties  of  other  parts  have  the  horns  large  and  spiral.  The 
wool  is  coarse,  and  hairy  on  the  haunches,  and  to  a  certain 
degree  along  the  ridge  on  the  back,  but  on  the  sides  it  is  very 
short  and  fine.  The  white  colour  of  the  fleece  prevails,  but 
there  is  a  constant  tendency  to  the  development  of  the  darker 
shades ;  and  the  whole  Sheep  would  become  black  and  brown, 
were  it  not  for  the  choice  by  breeders  of  those  which  are 
white  These  Sheep  are  in  a  remarkable  degree  wild  and 
restless  in  their  habits.  In  shape,  eye,  neck,  position  of  the 
head,  and  general  aspect,  they  approach  to  the  Antelope  or 
Deer  tribes  more  than  any  other  Sheep  of  this  country.  They 
fatten  so  slowly,  that,  even  after  they  have  arrived  at  matu- 
rity of  age,  they  require  a  long  time  to  become  fully  fat. 
They  have,  however,  a  great  disposition  to  accumulate  fat 
internally,  and  they  are  fit  for  the  butcher  when  their  ex- 
ternal appearance  would  indicate  that  they  were  still  lean. 
Their  mutton  is  juicy  and  of  good  flavour,  which  causes  them 
to  be  greatly  valued  for  domestic  consumption.  This  is  their 
really  valuable  property,  but  it  is  not  of  itself  sufficient  to 
render  them  deserving  of  extended  cultivation. 

Although  Ireland,  from  the  mildness  of  its  winter  and  mois- 
ture of  the  climate,  is  in  a  peculiar  degree  suited  to  the  produc- 
tion of  the  grasses  and  other  herbaceous  plants  fitted  for  the 
food  of  Sheep,  yet  a  great  part  of  the  country  is  covered  with 
peat,  either  collected  in  vast  beds  in  the  plains,  or  rising  into 
eminences,  or  spread  in  thinner  strata  over  the  hills.  Like 
all  the  countries  of  ancient  Europe,  Ireland  was  once  covered 
with  great  forests,  which  neglect,  and  the  prodigal  waste  of 


timber  for  fuel,  and  above  all,  the  ravages  of  incessant  wars, 
Lave  long  since  eradicated.  Giraldus  Cambrensis,  who  came 
into  Ireland  after  its  first  conquest  by  Henry  II.  in  the  twelfth 
century,  states,  that  the  country  was  full  of  woods  on  every 
side,  but  that  the  English,  on  gaining  possession  of  it,  cut 
them  down,  partly  to  deprive  the  banditti  of  their  lurking- 
places,  and  partly  to  gain  space  for  cultivation.  For  centuries 
the  work  of  destruction  proceeded  on  every  hand  ;  and,  on  the 
quelling  of  the  great  Rebellion  in  the  reign  of  Elizabeth,  the 
remaining  forests  were  still  further  reduced.  To  the  motives 
which  formerly  operated  was  now  added  the  desire  of  gain, 
and  immense  ship-loads  of  magnificent  timber  were  sent  to 
foreign  parts,  and  many  charcoal  manufactories  were  esta- 
blished. Even  in  the  seventeenth  century,  the  ruin  of  these 
noble  woods  had  not  been  completed.  Boate,  who  published 
his  Natural  History  of  Ireland  about  the  middle  of  the  cen- 
tury, though  he  complains  that  many  great  woods  which  the 
maps  represent  had  vanished,  still  describes  numbers  as  ex- 
isting which  are  now  no  more.  Speaking  of  the  province  of 
Leinster,  he  says,  that  Wicklow,  and  King's  and  Queen's 
counties,  were  throughout  full  of  woods,  some  many  miles 
long  and  broad,  and  that  part  of  the  counties  of  Wexford  and 
Carlow  were  greatly  furnished  with  them.  Of  Ulster,  he 
writes,  that  there  were  great  forests  in  the  county  of  Donegal, 
and  in  the  north  of  Tyrone ;  likewise  at  Fermagh,  along 
Lake  Erne,  in  Antrim,  and  in  the  north  part  of  Down.  The 
greater  part  of  the  latter  county,  however,  as  well  as  Ar- 
magh, Monaghan,  and  Cavan,  which,  in  the  war  with  Tyrone, 
had  been  encumbered  with  thick  forests,  had  then  become 
almost  bare.  With  respect  to  Munster,  he  tells  us,  that  the 
counties  of  Kerry  and  Tipperary  possessed  many  great 
forests,  notwithstanding  that  the  English,  especially  the 
Earl  of  Cork,  had  made  great  havoc  with  the  woods. 

In  this  manner  proceeded  the  spoiling  of  the  natural  riches 
of  the  beautiful  Isle.     The  last  Wolf  was  killed  at  the  be- 

78  THE  SHEEP. 

ginning  of  the  eighteenth  century,  shewing  that  then  the 
destruction  of  the  great  Irish  forests  was  nearly  completed. 
In  the  place  of  these  verdant  Woods,  have  arisen  the  dreary 
Bogs  which  have  covered  so  great  a  part  of  the  land  with 
the  aspect  of  desolation, — affording  fuel,  indeed,  by  the 
sweat  and  toil  of  the  miserable  inhabitants,  but  covered 
with  the  innutritions  plants  proper  to  peat,  and  affording 
but  a  scanty  sustenance  to  the  herds  and  flocks  that  tenant 

The  general  treatment  of  the  Sheep  of  the  mountainous 
and  peaty  tracts  of  Ireland  is  rude,  in  a  degree  which  the 
breeders  of  England  will  find  it  difficult  to  credit.  Some- 
times the  animals  are  mixed  in  common  on  the  peaty  moun- 
tains and  flat  bogs,  where  numbers  of  them  perish  from 
want  and  disease ;  and  often  they  spread  like  wild  beasts 
over  the  country,  stealing  what  they  can  obtain  :  sometimes 
they  are  coupled  together,  and  left  to  find  their  food  as  they 
may,  or  tethered  on  patches  of  grass  and  rushes,  or  kept  in 
the  miserable  cabins  of  their  owners.  All  over  the  west  of 
Ireland,  from  Donegal  to  Kerry,  are  to  be  found  half-starved 
Sheep,  either  straying  in  wild  flocks,  of  every  age  and  kind 
together,  or  dragging  one  another  in  couples  along,  or  fastened 
where  they  can  find  any  food.  "  Our  best  sort,"  says  Mr 
Sampson,  in  his  Survey  of  Londonderry,  *'  are  bought  either 
in  the  fairs  of  the  south-western  counties,  or  else  at  Dervock, 
to  which  they  are  driven  by  jobbers  from  those  pasture 
counties.  I  need  say  nothing  of  them.  Our  own  strain  is 
of  all  shapes  and  qualities,  horned  and  without  horns,  coarse- 
woolled  and  fine ;  almost  all  are  humpy-boned  and  restless. 
Not  long  ago,  one  might  see  hundreds  of  Sheep  travelling 
from  farm  to  farm  unnoticed  and  unowned.  Every  servant 
boy  in  the  county  who  had  a  few  shillings  saved,  laid  it  out 
on  a  Sheep  or  two,  which  he  let  loose  on  the  bounty  of  Pro- 
vidence, and  the  toleration  of  his  neighbourhood.  Towards 
May,  all  these  flocks  were  driven  to  the  mountains.  In  the 


time  of  snow,  these  depredators,  like  the  locusts  of  Egypt, 
devoured  every  thing  before  them.  I  have  lost  at  one  time 
two  thousand  head  of  curled  kale.  They  get  no  winter  fod- 
der but  what  they  can  steal." 

These  remarks  applied  to  the  smaller  races  of  the  bogs 
and  mountains,  and  are  still  partially  applicable.  The  long- 
woolled  Sheep  of  the  richer  country  are  under  different  cir- 
cumstances, and  will  be  referred  to  hereafter.  The  means 
by  which  the  more  neglected  races  can  be  improved,  are  the 
same  as  in  other  cases  have  been  adopted, — a  system  of  judi- 
cious crossing,  or  the  substitution  of  superior  breeds,  and  a 
better  system  of  feeding  and  general  treatment. 

But  when  we  speak  of  defects  in  the  husbandry  of  Ireland, 
we  must  remember  that  the  removal  of  them  is  not  always 
within  the  reach  of  common  remedies.  The  evil  may  be  seen, 
but  the  source  of  it  may  lie  in  the  condition  of  the  people, 
the  state  of  property,  and  the  relations  between  landlord  and 
tenant.  Six  hundred  years  ago,  Ireland  was  subjugated  by 
her  avaricious  neighbour,  and  successive  rebellions  led  to 
repeated  overthrows,  and  to  renewed  plunder.  The  country 
was  divided  amongst  the  conquerors  and  their  adherents,  and 
for  ages  a  great  part  of  the  disposable  produce  was  with- 
drawn. Absenteeism  became  the  habit  of  the  favoured  few ; 
and  at  this  hour,  a  larger  tribute  is  thus  imposed  upon  the 
industry  of  the  country  than  any  conqueror  ever  imposed 
upon  a  subject  colony  ;  and  the  country  is  poor,  her  labourers 
are  unemployed,  and  her  population  is  discontented,  notwith- 
standing that  she  exports  the  largest  quantity  of  raw  produce 
of  any  country  in  the  world  of  the  same  extent.  One  effect 
results  from  this  destitution,  that  there  is  no  barrier  between 
the  tenant  and  the  demands  of  the  receiver  of  rents.  In 
England,  the  habits  and  condition  of  the  people  are  opposed 
to  an  excessive  exaction  on  the  industry  of  the  farmer.  The 
English  yeoman  will  not  take  land  at  all  unless  he  has  the 
means  to  live,  and  to  obtain  a  fitting  return  from  his  capital 

80  THE  SHEEP. 

in  trade.  The  Irish  peasant  must  take  land  in  order  that 
he  may  subsist,  and  is  compelled  to  share  his  pittance  with 
another  to  the  uttermost  residue  that  will  permit  himself  to 
live.  Hence  the  rents  in  Ireland  are  larger,  in  proportion  to 
the  means  of  payment,  than  in  any  country  in  Europe.  While 
this  defective  relation  exists  between  the  landlord  and  tenant, 
—while  the  disposable  produce  of  the  land  is  expended  out 
of  the  country  which  it  should  enrich,  and  away  from  the 
poor  man  whom  it  should  employ, — while  the  land  is  parcelled 
out  in  order  that  excessive  rents  may  be  wrung  from  those 
that  till  it, — while  the  pecuniary  claims  of  the  landlord  or 
middle  men  are  more  directly  answered  by  means  of  peasants 
content  to  subsist  on  the  scantiest  pittance,  than  by  the  in- 
dustry of  tenants  possessed  of  means  to  improve  the  land, — 
we  must  expect  that  the  resources  of  the  country  will  be 
imperfectly  developed,  and  that  poor  and  wretched  husband- 
men, as  well  as  miserable  breeds  of  Sheep,  will  possess  it. 


England,  like  the  sister  Island,  was  once  covered  with 
noble  forests,  which  gradually  fell  before  the  ravages  of  war, 
and  the  progress  of  the  settler.  But,  on  the  conquest  of  the 
Normans,  vast  tracts  of  fine  country  were  retained  in  the 
state  in  which  they  then  existed,  for  the  purposes  of  the 
chase,  but  retaining  the  names  of  forests,  chases,  and  other 
denominations  indicative  of  their  original  nature,  and  the 
purposes  to  which  they  had  been  applied ;  such  were  Windsor 
Forest,  Sherburne  Forest,  Mendip  Forest,  and  many  more. 
Even  to  the  reign  of  Elizabeth,  a  large  part  of  the  whole  sur- 
face of  England  was  in  the  state  of  forest ;  but,  in  place  of 
vast  tracts  reserved  for  the  capricious  sports  of  the  sove- 
reign, or  the  great  feudatories,  the  unoccupied  grounds  had 


been  gradually  settled  upon,  acquired  by  individuals  through 
royal  grants  and  otherwise,  or  left  in  a  state  of  common  pro- 
perty, in  which  inhabitants  of  towns  or  the  neighbouring 
country  acquired  the  privilege  of  pasturage  and  other  rights. 
The  Royal  Forests  were  by  degrees  reduced  to  a  small  ex- 
tent, as  compared  with  their  former  state,  and  are  .now  partly 
planted  for  the  supply  of  naval  timber  ;  and,  with  respect  to 
the  Commons,  these  have  been  long  in  the  course  of  division, 
under  the  sanction  of  Acts  of  Parliament. 

The  native  Sheep  kept  on  these  forests  and  larger  com- 
mons often  acquired  distinctive  characters,  forming  well-de- 
fined breeds.  Of  these  several  yet  remain,  and,  until  late  in 
the  last  century,  they  were  very  numerous.  Most  of  them, 
however,  are  no  longer  to  be  recognised  as  separate  varie- 
ties, and  few  of  them  remain  without  intermixture  with  the 
Sheep  of  the  adjoining  country.  They  were  generally  of 
small  size  and  defective  form,  but  had  usually  short  fine 
wool,  suited  for  the  manufacture  of  cloths.  Their  faces  and 
legs  were  sometimes  white,  but  generally  black,  gray,  or  dun  : 
they  had  usually  horns,  but  sometimes  the  horns  were  want- 
ing in  one  or  both  sexes.  They  were  wild  and  thriftless, 
but,  like  all  the  smaller  unimproved  races,  yielded  excellent 
mutton.  The  cultivation  of  the  forests,  in  all  cases,  caused 
the  substitution  of  superior  breeds  ;  and,  even  where  cultiva- 
tion did  not  take  place,  the  interests  of  the  owners  led  them 
to  cross  their  flocks  with  the  superior  breeds  of  the  cultivated 

In  the  poorer  and  more  elevated  parts  of  the  counties  of 
Stafford,  Leicester,  Cheshire,  Shropshire,  and  others,  are  still 
to  be  found  the  remains  of  old  Forest  Sheep,  distinguished 
by  black  or  gray  faces  and  legs,  and  yielding  short  clothing 
wool.  Those  of  Cannock  Chase  yet  exist,  though  they  have 
been  mostly  crossed.  They  are  destitute  of  horns  in  both 
sexes,  and  the  wool  weighs  from  2  to  31b.  the  fleece.  The 
Sheep,  likewise,  of  the  ancient  Forest  of  Belamere  in  Che- 
shire are  still  in  existence :  they  are  the  type  of  the  old 

82  THE  SHEEP. 

Sheep  of  Shropshire,  and  approach  to  the  general  form  of  the 

Of  the  Forest  Breeds,  two  remarkable  ones  yet  exist  in 
the  elevated  country  between  the  Bristol  and  British  Chan- 
nels, the  one  inhabiting  the  heathy  tract  of  granite  forming 
the  Forest  of  Dartmoor,  the  other  the  district  of  greywacke 
of  the  Forest  of  Exmoor,  at  the  sources  of  the  river  Exe,  on 
the  confines  of  Somerset  and  Devon.  These  two  races  have 
long  attracted  attention,  from  their  having  supplied  the  well- 
known  Oakhampton  mutton,  so  named  from  the  sheep  having 
been  killed  at  that  town,  whence  the  carcasses  are  sent  to 
London.  But  the  Oakhampton  mutton  now  not  only  includes 
that  of  the  Forest  Sheep,  but  that  of  the  crosses  between 
them  and  other  breeds. 

The  Dartmoor  Sheep  are  very  small  in  size,  and,  like  the 
Sheep  of  Wales,  have  long  soft  wool,  in  which  respect  they 
differ  from  the  other  Forest  Breeds.  The  faces  and  legs  are 
white,  and  the  males  have  horns.  They  are  exceedingly 
wild  and  restless.  They  are  reared  in  their  native  pastures 
of  heath,  and  fattened  in  the  lower  country.  They  will  re- 
main feeding  in  the  valleys  in  winter,  but  no  sooner  does  the 
vegetation  of  spring  commence  than  they  seek  to  regain  their 
native  pastures,  and  endeavour  to  break  through  the  fences 
opposed  to  their  return ;  and  even  the  crosses  retain  this 
instinct  of  the  race. 

These  Sheep  produce  mutton  which  bears  a  high  price,  and 
are  constitutionally  well  suited  to  the  barren  undrained  dis- 
trict to  which  they  are  indigenous;  but  yet  they  are  an 
unprofitable  race  of  Sheep,  from  their  small  size,  defective 
form,  and,  above  all,  their  wild  and  restless  temper.  The  im- 
mediate profit  from  crossing  them  has  been  so  great,  that  the 
pure  breed  is  rapidly  diminishing  in  numbers,  and  will  soon 
become  extinct.  The  principal  breeds  with  which  they  have 
been  crossed  are  the  Leicester  and  South  Down.  The  Leices- 
ter cross  is  preferred,  being  more  hardy  than  that  with  the 
Southdowns,  which  seem  to  amalgamate  less  freely  with  the 


long-woolled  breeds  of  Wales  and  the  west  of  England,  than 
even  the  long-woolled  breeds  of  the  plains. 

The  Exmoor  Sheep  are  yet  smaller,  more  wild,  and  more 
intractable  than  the  Dartmoor.  The  district  they  inhabit, 
near  the  Bristol  Channel,  is  of  limited  extent.  Although 
their  habitat  is  so  near  to  that  of  the  Dartmoors,  they  pos- 
sess their  own  characters,  and  so  may  be  termed  a  breed. 
The  males  have  a  large  beard  under  the  chin,  from  which 
cause  they  have  the  aspect  of  Goats  ;  and  they  have  much  of 
the  agility  and  strength  of  these  animals.  Like  Goats,  they 
ascend  precipices,  and  are  with  difficulty  confined  by  ordinary 
walls  and  fences.  They  are  very  bold,  attacking  Sheep  much 
larger  than  themselves.  The  females,  as  in  the  case  of  other 
wild  breeds,  are  considerably  smaller  than  the  males,  from 
whom  they  receive  the  roughest  treatment.  The  wool  of 
these  curious  Sheep  is  long  and  silky,  and  their  mutton  is 
excellent.  Like  the  Dartmoors,  they  are  disappearing  in 
their  pure  state,  from  the  effects  of  crossing,  and  have  even, 
in  some  cases,  given  entire  place  to  the  Cheviots,  which 
have  been  introduced  into  the  district,  and  are  found  in  all 
respects  superior  to  the  native  stock. 

A  race  of  Sheep,  of  allied  characters  to  the  Exmoor, 
stretches  westward  along  the  Bristol  Channel  to  the  rich 
country  on  the  Parret ;  and  even  on  the  Mendip  hills,  to  the 
eastward,  traces  of  the  Exmoor  form  appear  in  the  races  of 
the  country.  On  the  great  Forest  of  Mendip,  the  Sheep  were 
formerly  distinguished  by  the  fineness  of  their  wool ;  but, 
with  the  enclosure  of  the  forest,  the  ancient  race  ceased  to 
exist  in  a  state  of  purity. 

Of  the  various  Forest  Breeds  of  England,  none  is  now 
likely  to  be  cultivated  in  the  pure  state,  because  a  long  course 
of  careful  breeding  would  be  required  to  communicate  the 
suitable  development  of  form,  and  because  superior  breeds 
have  now  been  produced,  which  can  either  be  made  to  cross 
the  original  ones,  or  be  substituted  for  them.  But  it  is  to  be 
regretted  that  earlier  attention  was  not  directed  to  some 

84  THE  SHEEP. 

of  these  races,  which  possess  fine  wool,  and  which,  by  being 
acclimated  in  a  lower  country,  would  have  increased  in  size 
and  economical  value.  Some  of  the  Forest  Sheep  of  Stafford- 
shire were  at  least  equal  to  the  original  Southdowns ;  and, 
had  they  been  cultivated  with  the  same  care,  might  have 
been  extended  to  districts  to  which  the  Southdowns,  bred  in 
a  country  of  chalk  and  fine  herbage,  are  less  adapted. 


From  the  high  lands  of  Derbyshire  on  the  south,  to  the 
confines  of  Scotland  on  the  north,  extends  a  chain  of  rugged 
heathy  mountains,  whose  summit  ridge  separates  the  waters 
of  the  Tyne,  the  Tees,  the  Swale,  the  Wharfe,  and  other 
rivers  which  flow  to  the  eastward,  from  those  of  the  Bibble, 
the  Lowther,  the  Lune,  and  others  which  flow  westward.  The 
elevation  of  this  tract  is  from  1200  to  3000  feet,  the  highest 
summits  being  Cross  Fell,  near  the  sources  of  the  South  Tyne 
and  Tees,  on  the  eastern  part  of  Cumberland ;  Skinner  Fell, 
on  the  confines  of  Yorkshire  and  Westmoreland  ;  Wharnside 
and  others  in  the  westerly  part  of  Yorkshire.  This  central 
chain  is  separated  from  the  yet  higher  mountains  of  Cum- 
berland and  Westmoreland  on  the  west,  by  the  beautiful 
vales  of  Kendal  and  Eden.  The  tract  is  destitute  of  bold- 
ness and  grandeur,  and,  towards  the  east,  passes  into  the 
tame  moors  of  Northumberland,  Durham,  and  Yorkshire. 
This  dreary  tract  is  generally  covered  with  coarse  heaths, 
mixed  with  sedges,  rushes,  and  the  less  nutritious  grasses, 
and,  from  being  exposed  to  the  winds  of  both  the  eastern  and 
western  seas,  possesses  a  cold  climate.  It  has  given  rise  to 
a  race  of  Sheep  now  very  widely  diffused.  This  race  has 
been  termed  the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed,  a  name  which, 
though  it  does  not  distinguish  it  from  some  of  the  Forest 
Breeds,  may  be  retained,  as  indicating  its  peculiar  habitat  in 
a  country  of  heaths. 


The  Black-faced  Heath  Breed  is  chiefly  found  in  the  more 
northerly  division  of  the  chain  of  mountains  referred  to,  be- 
ginning in  the  heathy  lands  of  Yorkshire  and  Lancashire. 
It  extends  across  the  vales  of  Kendal  and  Eden  to  the  higher 
mountains  of  Cumberland  and  Westmoreland  on  the  west, 
and  by  the  Carter  Fell  into  Scotland,  where  it  occupies  the 
great  range  of  the  greywacke  hills  stretching  from  St  Abb's 
Head  on  the  east  to  the  Irish  Channel  on  the  west.  It 
stretches  through  the  upper  part  of  Lanarkshire  into  Argyle- 
shire,  and  all  through  the  Highlands  of  Scotland,  from  the 
Grampians  to  the  Pentland  Firth.  It  has  spread  to  all  the 
Hebrides,  and  even  to  the  Islands  of  Orkney  and  Zetland. 

This  breed  may  be  supposed  to  have  found  its  way  into 
Scotland  by  the  mountains  of  the  north  of  England.  It  has 
been  settled  for  a  period  unknown  in  all  the  high  lands  of 
the  countries  of  Roxburgh,  Dumfries,  Selkirk,  Peebles,  La- 
nark, and  the  adjoining  districts.  Tradition  asserts  that  it 
was  introduced  into  Etterick  Forest  by  one  of  the  Kings  of 
Scotland,  but  it  is  rather  to  be  believed  that  it  found  its  way 
into  the  Border  counties  by  the  natural  route  of  the  moun- 
tains. Its  introduction  into  Argyleshire,  and  the  Central  and 
Northern  Highlands,  has  been  of  very  recent  origin,  having 
taken  place  about  the  middle  of  last  century,  when  Sheep 
began  to  supersede  the  herds  of  cattle  which  then  abounded 
in  the  Highlands.  By  degrees,  it  displaced  the  ancient  races 
of  the  country,  of  which  only  scattered  remnants  now  exist. 

The  Black-faced  Heath  Breed  possesses  characters  which 
distinguish  it  from  every  other  in  the  British  Islands.  It  is  of 
the  smaller  races  of  Sheep  with  respect  to  the  weight  at  which 
it  arrives,  but  it  is  larger  and  more  robust  than  the  Zetland, 
the  Welsh,  and  the  ancient  Soft-woolled  Sheep  which  it  dis- 
placed. It  somewhat  resembles  the  Persian,  so  that  it  might 
be  conjectured  that  it  is  derived  from  the  East.  But  it  is 
more  natural  to  assume  that  its  peculiar  characters  have  been 
communicated  to  it  by  the  effects  of  food  and  climate,  in  the 

86  THE  SHEEP. 

•     • 

rough  heathy  district  from  which  it  is  derived.  The  male  and 
the  female  have  horns,  very  large  and  spirally  twisted  in  the 
male,  but  sometimes  disappearing  in  the  female.  The  limbs 
are  long  and  muscular,  and  the  general  form  is  robust ;  but 
the  shoulders  are  not  so  low  as  in  the  Welsh  breeds,  nor  are 
the  posterior  limbs  so  long.  The  face  and  legs  are  black, 
and  there  is  a  tendency  to  this  colour  in  the  fleece ;  but  there 
is  no  tendency  to  the  brown  or  russet  colour,  which  distin- 
guishes the  older  fine-woolled  races.  The  fur  is  shaggy  and 
the  wool  coarse,  in  which  respect  it  differs  from  that  of  all 
the  other  mountain  breeds  of  the  country.  It  is  of  medium 
length,  and  weighs  about  three  pounds  the  fleece  when  washed. 
These  Sheep  are  very  hardy,  and  capable  of  subsisting  on  the 
coarsest  heaths.  They  do  not,  however,  like  the  Sheep  of 
Wales,  prefer  the  summits  of  mountains,  but  feed  wherever 
pasture  can  be  obtained ;  and  are  not  so  nice  in  the  choice 
of  herbage  as  the  Southdown  s,  Merinos,  and  other  races  de- 
rived from  countries  yielding  the  finer  grasses.  Although 
wild  and  independent  in  their  habits,  they  are  not  so  restless 
as  the  mountain  Sheep  of  Wales  and  other  parts,  but  can  be 
induced  to  remain  in  enclosures,  when  sufficient  food  is  sup- 
plied to  them.  The  ordinary  weight  of  the  wethers,  when 
killed  at  the  age  of  about  four  years,  is  fifteen  pounds  the 
quarter ;  but  individuals  are  made  to  exceed  this  weight, 
when  properly  treated  and  sufficiently  fed  from  an  early  age. 
The  mutton  is  not  so  delicate  as  that  of  the  Sheep  of  Wales, 
or  the  Southdowns  of  England,  but  it  is  more  juicy,  has  more 
of  the  venison  flavour,  and  is  preferred  to  every  other  by 
those  who  are  used  to  it.  It  is  the  mutton  which  is  princi- 
pally consumed  in  all  the  larger  towns  of  Scotland ;  and  great 
numbers  of  the  Sheep,  at  the  age  of  three  years  and  up* 
wards,  are  carried  to  the  pastures  of  the  south,  to  be  fattened 
for  the  English  markets. 

An  important  property  of  this  breed  is  its  adaptation  to  a 
country  of  heaths,  in  which  respect  it  excels  every  other.     It 


is  this  property,  as  much  as  its  hardiness,  that  has  rendered 
it  so  suitable  to  the  heathy  mountains  where  it  is  acclimated, 
and  where  it  finds  subsistence  beyond  the  ordinary  range  of 
other  Sheep.  It  feeds  on  the  loftiest  mountains,  up  to  the 
very  verge  where  the  heaths  give  place  to  the  musci  and 
other  plants  of  the  higher  latitudes.  Feeding  much  on  the 
shoots  of  heath,  these  Sheep  find  subsistence,  in  the  times  of 
snow  and  severe  frosts,  better  than  any  other  in  this  country. 
The  mothers  are  hardy  nurses,  and  are  able  to  bring  up  their 
young,  when  they  themselves  have  been  exposed  to  severe 
privations.  A  great  defect  of  this  breed  is  the  character  of 
the  fleece,  which,  besides  being  thin  on  the  body,  yields  wool 
fit  only  for  the  manufacture  of  carpets  and  the  coarser  stuffs. 
Little  general  attention  has  been  paid  to  the  quality  of  the 
fleece,  although  it  is  susceptible  of  considerable  improvement. 
A  defect  of  the  wool,  very  common  in  this  breed,  is  the  ex- 
istence of  what  are  termed  kemps.  These  consist  of  hard 
and  wiry  filaments  mixed  with  the  pile.  They  are  deficient 
in  the  felting  property,  and  in  the  oily  secretion  which 
moistens  the  true  wool.  The  removal  of  kemps  is  effected 
by  superior  food,  and  by  breeding  from  parents  free  from  the 
defect.  Sometimes  individuals  of  this  breed  are  born  with 
wool  which  is  fine  and  short.  Were  advantage  taken  of  this 
occurrence,  it  might  be  possible,  by  means  of  breeding,  to 
produce  a  variety  with  fine  in  place  of  coarse  wool. 

This  breed,  extending  over  a  great  variety  of  situation  and 
soils,  from  the  moist  moors  of  Yorkshire  and  other  parts  to 
the  rocky  mountains  of  the  north  of  Scotland,  presents  a 
great  diversity  of  size  and  aspect.  In  some  of  the  lower  and 
less  heathy  moors  both  of  England  and  Scotland,  the  Sheep 
have  so  far  deviated  from  the  ordinary  type,  as  to  have  lost 
their  horns,  and  the  black  colour  of  the  legs  and  face.  This 
variety  is  generally  of  smaller  size,  and  less  hardy  habits, 
than  those  which  are  naturalized  on  the  drier  mountains  of 
abundant  heath.  The  best  of  the  breed  are  found  in  Tweed- 
dale  in  Scotland,  which  may  be  partly  due  to  the  nature  of 

88  THE  SHEEP. 

the  country,  and  partly  to  the  superior  care  bestowed  in 
breeding.  Those  existing  in  the  hills  of  Cumberland,  West- 
moreland, Yorkshire,  and  Lancashire,  are  much  inferior  to 
those  of  the  Border  counties  of  Scotland.  Over  a  great  part 
of  the  Highlands  and  Islands  of  Scotland,  the  breed  has  de- 
generated, from  the  want  of  care,  and  from  insufficient  food. 
In  many  of  these  situations,  indeed,  the  stock  may  be  said 
to  be  mixed,  for  it  has  been  the  result  of  crosses  with  the 
original  races.  This  is  in  an  especial  manner  the  case  in 
the  Hebrides,  where  the  animals  are  small,  and  every  way  in- 
ferior to  the  genuine  Heath  Breed. 

The  treatment  of  this  hardy  race  of  Sheep  has  a  necessary 
relation  to  the  circumstances  of  the  country  in  which  it  is 
produced.  The  breeder  of  the  Sheep  is  not  usually  the  per- 
son who  fattens  them  for  use.  He  rears  them  to  the  age 
which  suits  the  nature  of  his  farm,  and  disposes  of  them  to 
others  who  have  farms  on  which  they  can  be  kept  till  they 
have  arrived  at  the  proper  age  for  being  fattened.  They  are 
then  disposed  of  to  the  graziers  and  farmers,  whose  pastures, 
or  means  of  supplying  artificial  food,  enable  them  to  prepare 
them  for  the  butcher.  This  species  of  transfer  is  continually 
going  on,  and  the  numerous  fairs  of  the  country  are  the  marts 
to  which  vast  flocks  of  these  Sheep  are  brought  at  different 
times.  They  find  their  way  to  the  ultimate  markets  of  con- 
sumption at  various  ages,  but  mostly  when  between  three 
and  four  years  old,  and  when  the  mutton  has  arrived  at  its 
greatest  perfection  in  juiciness  and  flavour.  Increasing 
numbers  of  them  are  now  carried  to  the  markets  of  London 
and  other  great  towns,  aided  by  the  facilities  of  intercourse 
afforded  by  steam  navigation. 

The  means  of  rearing  these  numerous  Sheep  are  afforded 
by  the  stocks  of  ewes  maintained  on  the  farms  of  the  breeders, 
the  number  of  each  flock  of  ewes  depending  on  the  quality 
and  extent  of  the  natural  pastures,  and  the  age  to  which  the 
progeny  is  reared  on  the  breeding-farm.  Thus,  when  the 
Sheep  are  sold  when  lambs  or  hoggets,  the  proportion  of 


ewes  is  in  a  corresponding  degree  larger  than  when  the  pro- 
geny is  kept  to  the  age  of  wethers.  In  general,  one  shep- 
herd is  reckoned  sufficient  for  twenty-five  scores  of  ewes,  but 
for  a  much  greater  number  of  young  sheep  and  wethers. 

The  rams  are  admitted  to  the  ewes  about  the  22d  of  No- 
vember, so  that  the  season  of  lambing  may  not  begin  before 
the  tardy  vegetation  of  spring  may  be  expected.  During  the 
months  of  winter,  the  pregnant  ewes  are  suffered  to  range 
over  those  parts  of  the  farm  where  food  can  be  picked  up  ; 
the  rushes,  sedges,  and  other  herbaceous  plants  mixed  with 
the  heaths,  affording  a  scanty  subsistence,  rendered  precari- 
ous by  the  falls  of  snow  which  often  cover  these  dreary  wastes 
for  weeks  or  months  at  a  time.  The  artificial  provender  that 
can  be  supplied  is  confined  to  a  little  coarse  hay  during  deep 
snows,  but  even  this  is  often  wanting,  and  all  the  food  sup- 
plied is  what  the  animals  can  collect  on  their  natural  pas- 
tures. These  wild  and  hardy  Sheep,  however,  dig  up  the 
snowy  surface  to  reach  the  herbs  beneath,  and  support  life 
under  circumstances  in  which  the  more  delicate  races  would 
perish.  Yet,  as  it  is,  many  die  from  the  inclemency  of  the 
weather  and  the  want  of  food,  and  numbers  often  are  over- 
whelmed by  falls  of  snow  so  sudden  and  violent  that  there  is 
no  escape.  In  districts  where  the  mountains  are  of  less 
elevation,  and  artificial  shelter  can  be  supplied,  the  condi- 
tion of  these  mountain  flocks  is  in  a  corresponding  degree 
less  precarious ;  but,  generally,  they  are  placed  in  situations 
which  subject  them  to  the  evil  of  frequent  destitution. 

When  the  season  of  lambing  arrives,  the  ewes  are  often 
in  a  very  emaciated  condition  ;  but  such  good  and  hardy 
nurses  are  these  mountain  Sheep,  that  they  are  able  to  bring 
up  their  young  under  privations  which  few  other  breeds 
could  contend  against.  The  shearing  of  them  takes  place 
about  the  beginning  of  July.  The  ewes,  as  well  as  the 
other  grown  sheep  on  the  farm,  are  driven  to  a  river  or 
pool,  and  made  to  leap  from  the  bank  and  swim  across. 
The  same  care  is  rarely  bestowed  on  washing  these  wild 

90  THE  SHEEP. 

Sheep  as  in  the  case  of  the  finer  breeds.  In  a  few  days 
after  being  washed  they  are  shorn.  After  the  middle  of 
July,  or  about  three  months  from  the  birth,  the  lambs  are 
separated  from  the  mothers.  This  is  done  simply  by  re- 
moving them  to  another  part  of  the  farm.  In  a  short  time 
they  forget  one  another,  and  the  milk  of  the  dam  ceases  to 
be  secreted.  It  was  formerly  the  universal  practice  to  milk 
the  ewes  for  six  or  seven  weeks,  or  even  more,  after  the 
lambs  were  weaned.  This  practice  is  now  considerably  dis- 
used in  the  districts  where  the  management  of  Sheep  is  the 
best  understood,  it  being  found  that  the  profit  from  the  milk 
is  rarely  compensated  by  the  disturbance  of  the  flock,  and 
the  exhaustion  of  the  ewes  previous  to  the  perilous  season 
of  winter. 

The  lambs  on  being  weaned  become,  in  the  language  of 
farmers,  hoggets  or  hogs.  The  wether  hogs  may  then  be 
disposed  of,  and  such  of  the  ewe  hogs  as  are  not  to  be  re- 
tained for  the  purpose  of  supplying  the  place  of  the  old  ewes, 
which,  after  having  borne  lambs  for  three  or  four  years,  are 
to  be  disposed  of.  After  the  lambs  are  weaned,  such  of  the 
ewes  as  have  borne  the  proper  number  of  lambs  are  selected, 
and  sold  in  the  course  of  the  autumn.  When  the  young 
Sheep  are  not  disposed  of  in  the  first  year,  they  are  kept 
until  the  second  year,  and  sometimes  until  the  third  or  fourth 
years.  Their  treatment  while  on  the  farm  is  the  same  as 
that  of  the  ewes. 

A  practice  exists  in  the  case  of  these  mountain  Sheep,  the 
utility  of  which  is  proved  by  long  experience,  of  anointing 
the  skins  previous  to  the  months  of  winter.  The  substances 
generally  used  are  tar  and  butter,  prepared  by  boiling  the 
butter  and  tar  together.  The  proportions  used  vary  in  dif- 
ferent districts.  In  some  places,  six  pounds  of  butter,  and 
one  gallon  of  tar,  are  used  for  twenty  Sheep,  and  in  others 
the  quantity  of  tar  is  larger.  The  period  of  smearing  is  the 
end  of  October  or  beginning  of  November.  The  method  is 
to  separate  the  wool  by  the  finger,  and  spread  the  ointment 


longitudinally  from  head  to  tail,  so  that  the  whole  body  shall 
be  covered.  The  purpose  served  by  the  process  is  to  re- 
move insects  and  cutaneous  diseases,  and  to  defend  the  skin 
from  wetness.  It  is  peculiarly  beneficial  in  the  case  of  this 
breed,  whose  fur  is  less  close  and  fine  than  that  of  any  other 
Sheep.  The  effect,  however,  is  to  diminish  the  value  of  the 
wool,  by  staining  it  with  the  colouring  matter  of  the  tar, 
which  renders  it  less  fitted  for  receiving  the  brighter  colours 
in  dyeing.  But  it  increases  the  weight  of  the  fleece,  and 
conduces  in  so  great  a  degree  to  the  health  of  the  animals, 
by  rendering  them  less  liable  to  be  injured  by  the  coldness 
and  humidity  to  which  they  are  exposed,  that,  whatever 
doubts  may  exist  of  the  expediency  of  the  practice  in  the 
case  of  other  mountain  breeds,  experience  shews  its  import- 
ance in  the  case  of  this  one  all  over  the  stormy  countries 
which  it  inhabits. 

This  breed  does  not  seem  to  amalgamate  very  readily  with 
other  races,  so  that  crossing  has  not  generally  been  success- 
ful as  a  means  of  permanent  improvement.  It  has  been 
frequently  crossed  by  the  Cheviot,  but  the  descendants  have 
been  found  inferior  in  weight,  form,  and  quality  of  wool,  to 
the  pure  Cheviots,  and  to  the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed  in 
hardiness  and  aptitude  to  thrive  in  an  upland  country  of 
heaths.  But  as  it  is  not  always  deemed  safe  to  change  a 
stock  of  Sheep  habituated  to  their  locality,  the  practice  of  a 
continued  crossing  with  the  Cheviot,  until  the  flock  has 
acquired  the  characters  of  the  latter,  has  been  sometimes 
adopted,  so  that  the  original  Black-faced  stock  has  become  in 
time  almost  Cheviot.  Another  species  of  crossing  has  been 
remarkably  successful,  namely,  the  employing  of  males  of  the 
Leicester  or  South  Down  breeds  for  a  first  cross.  The  lambs, 
the  result  of  this  mixture,  are  excellent,  rising  to  a  much 
.greater  weight  than  those  of  the  pure  Black-faced  blood. 
Great  numbers  of  this  mixed  race  are  now  produced,  and  an 
increased  source  of  profit  is  thus  opened  to  breeders  by  the 
sale  of  their  young  Sheep.  Of  these  crosses,  the  best  has 

92  THE  SHEEP. 

been  found  to  be  with  the  Leicesters.  That  with  the  South- 
downs  produces  very  handsome  Sheep,  having  perfectly  black 
faces  and  legs,  and  a  close  good  fleece ;  but  they  scarcely 
attain  the  size  of  the  Leicester  crosses,  and  the  latter  ac- 
cordingly are  preferred  for  the  special  purpose  for  which 
this  species  of  breeding  is  designed. 

Seeing  the  large  tract  of  country  which  is  occupied  by 
this  breed,  it  is  of  great  importance  toamprove  it  to  the  de- 
gree to  which  it  is  susceptible.  This,  as  in  other  cases,  may 
be  done  by  due  selection  of  the  breeding  parents,  and  by 
rearing  the  animals  under  circumstances  favourable  to  the 
full  development  of  their  forms.  By  adopting  this  practice, 
we  have  in  every  case  the  means  of  improving  a  breed  of 
Sheep.  Adequate  nourishment  is  essential  to  the  enlarge- 
ment of  size ;  and  all  the  properties  of  form,  which  consist 
with  the  character  of  the  race,  may  be  communicated  and 
rendered  permanent  by  a  due  attention  to  breeding.  The 
wool  of  this  breed  being  of  small  comparative  value,  the  at- 
tention of  improvers  may  be  mainly  directed  to  the  carcass. 
By  attending  to  the  roundness  of  the  trunk  and  breadth  of 
the  chest,  we  not  only  produce  animals  which  more  readily 
fatten,  but  which  are  more  hardy ;  for  in  the  case  of  all 
breeds,  it  is  found  that  narrow-chested  and  flat- sided  ani- 
mals are  less  vigorous,  and  more  subject  to  diseases,  than 
such  as  have  the  body  round  and  the  chest  wide. 

It  is  painful,  however,  to  state,  that  this  breed,  so  widely 
diffused,  has  been  treated  with  comparative  neglect.  Vari- 
ous breeders  have  distinguished  themselves  by  their  atten- 
tion to  the  form  of  the  animals,  and  have  reaped  the  reward 
in  the  superior  character  of  their  stock  ;  but,  over  the  wide 
tract  of  country  which  the  breed  occupies,  it  is  far  inferior  in 
economical  value  to  that  to  which,  by  due  attention,  it  might 
arrive.  Breeders  would  find  it  for  their  interest  to  procure 
rams  from  the  southern  counties  of  Scotland,  and  from  the 
stocks  of  the  breeders  whose  farms  are  good,  and  who  have 
paid  the  most  attention  to  the  character  of  their  stock. 


The  Black-faced  Heath  Breed,  after  having  displaced  the 
former  races  of  a  large  tract  of  country,  has  itself,  in  the 
natural  course  of  improvement,  been  giving  way  to  another 
mountain  breed  of  different  characters.  This  is  the  breed 
of  the  Cheviot  mountains,  likewise  derived  from  a  high  and 
stormy  country,  but  reared  under  circumstances  more  favour- 
able with  respect  to  the  supplies  of  food,  possessing  fine  and 
not  coarse  wool,  and  cultivated  with  greater  attention  on  the 
breeding  farms.  But  the  hardier  Heath  Breed  is  still  the 
more  suitable  to  a  great  extent  of  country,  where  the  preva- 
lent herbage  is  heath,  and  still  therefore  merits  the  careful 
attention  of  a  numerous  class  of  breeders. 


The  Cheviot  Breed  of  Sheep  is  derived  from  a  district  of  por- 
phyry, situated  in  the  north  of  Northumberland,  and  extend- 
ing into  Scotland,  forming  the  mountains  termed  Cheviot. 
These  mountains  are  in  contact  with  the  rugged  country  of 
heath,  which  has  been  seen  to  be  the  habitat  of  the  Black- 
faced  Breed ;  But  the  true  Cheviot  district  is  limited  in  extent, 
and  differs  greatly  in  its  character  from  the  heathy  wastes 
adjoining.  It  is  composed  of  a  range  of  beautiful  mountains 
tending  to  the  conical,  and  mostly  covered  with  grasses,  ferns, 
wild  thyme,  and  other  plants  distinctive  of  trap,  often  to  the 
very  summit.  They  are  frequently  in  contact  at  their  bases, 
or  separated  from  one  another  by  narrow  valleys.  While 
they  pass  on  one  side  into  the  district  of  heaths,  they  are 
connected  on  the  other  with  a  rich  cultivated  country.  Their 
highest  summit  is  2658  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  and 
they  are  frequently  capped  with  snow  long  after  it  has  dis- 
appeared from  the  lower  grounds. 

This  district  has  produced,  from  time  immemorial,  a  race 
of  Sheep  entirely  distinct  in  its  characters  from  the  Wild 

94  THE  SHEEP. 

Heath  Breed  of  the  elevated  moors  adjoining.     The  Cheviot 
Sheep  are  destitute  of  horns  in  the  male  and  female :  their 
faces  and  legs  are  white,  exceptions  merely  occurring  in  the 
case  of  individuals  in  which  these  parts  are  dun.     The  body 
is  very  closely  covered  with  wool,  which  is  short  and  suffi- 
ciently fine  for  the  making  of  certain  cloths.     The  two  shear- 
wethers,  when  fat,  may  weigh,  on  a  medium,  from  sixteen  to 
eighteen  pounds  the  quarter,  though  with  great  differences, 
dependent  on  the  natural  productiveness  of  the  pastures,  and 
the  method  of  treatment  when  young.    The  ewes  are  usually 
reckoned  to  weigh  from  twelve  to  fourteen  pounds  the  quarter, 
though  with  such  differences  as  depend  on  the  nature  of  the 
soil  and  pastures,  and  the  method  of  treatment.    The  mutton 
of  these  sheep  is  very  good,  though  inferior  in  delicacy  to  that 
of  the  South  Down  and  Welsh  Sheep,  and  in  flavour  to  that  of 
the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed.    Their  natural  form  is,  like  that 
of  all  mountain  breeds,  with  a  light  fore-quarter ;  but  this  cha- 
racter is  removed  by  the  effects  of  breeding,  and  the  modern 
Cheviots  are  of  good  form.     The  body  is  somewhat  longer 
than  is  usually  the  case  with  the  Heath  Breed,  which  has 
given  rise  to  the  popular  distinction,  in  districts  where  both 
breeds  are  cultivated,  of  Long  and  Short  Sheep.     They  are 
larger  in  the  lower  countries,  where  a  supply  of  turnips  can 
be  given  :  they  are  lighter  in  the  more  elevated  tracts,  where 
artificial  food  is  scanty,  or  wanting.    The  breeders  adopt  the 
kind  of  animal  which  is  suited  to  the  pastures,  preferring  a 
short-legged  larger  Sheep  for  the  lower  farms,  and  one  of 
lighter  and  more  agile  form  for  the  more  upland  and  colder. 
The  Cheviot  Sheep  are  of  quiet  habits,  possessing,  indeed, 
the  independence  of  a  mountain  race,  but  having  none  of  the 
indocility  which  distinguishes  some  other  races.     They  are 
exceedingly  hardy,  their  close  covering  of  fine  wool  enabling 
them  to  resist  the  extremes  of  cold.     They  feed  more  on  the 
grasses,  and  less  on  the  shoots  of  heath,  than  the  Black-faced 
Breed,  and  hence  they  are  less  adapted  to  a  country  of  entire 


heath,  and  require  a  larger  range  of  pastures  to  support  an 
equal  number  of  animals. 

The  Cheviot  Sheep  have  spread  from  their  native  mountains 
to  a  large  extent  of  country.  They  now  cover  a  great  part  of 
the  elevated  moors  from  which  the  Black-faced  Heath  Sheep 
were  derived.  They  have  spread  over  the  southern  moun- 
tains of  Scotland,  supplanting  to  a  great  extent  the  Heath 
Breed,  which  previously  existed.  They  have  been  carried  be- 
yond the  Grampians  to  the  extreme  north  of  Scotland,  where 
they  are  reared  in  increasing  numbers.  To  the  late  Sir  John 
Sinclair  is  due  the  honour  of  having  first  carried  them  to 
the  county  of  Caithness.  But  in  some  cases  they  have  been 
placed  in  situations  to  which  the  coarser  Heath  Breed  would 
have  been  better  adapted,  and  many  farmers,  after  experi- 
ence of  the  effect,  have  reverted  to  the  ancient  race.  The 
breed,  however,  has  a  greatly  more  extensive  range  than  has 
yet  been  assigned  to  it ;  for  it  is  evident  that  the  Cheviot, 
like  every  breed  of  Sheep,  has  the  property  of  adapting  itself 
to  the  country  in  which  it  is  naturalized.  Thus,  the  Sheep 
which  are  reared  in  the  north  of  Scotland  must  give  birth  to 
a  hardier  race  than  is  produced  in  the  lower  mountains  of  the 
south  ;  and  thus  we  may  expect  to  see  the  range  of  the  breed 
gradually  extended,  and  narrowing  the  bounds  occupied  by 
the  coarser  Black-faced.  The  extension  that  has  already 
taken  place  of  this  hardy  breed,  must  be  regarded  as  having 
been  of  singular  benefit  to  breeders  and  the  country.  It  has 
been  recently  carried  to  the  west  of  England  and  Wales,  and 
has  every  where  been  found  suited  to  a  cold  and  mountain- 
ous country.  In  its  native  country  of  the  Cheviot  Hills,  it 
has  been  cultivated  with  great  care  by  a  class  of  breeders 
inferior  to  none  in  the  kingdom  for  intelligence  and  enter- 
prise ;  and  thus  breeders  from  every  part  of  the  kingdom 
have  the  power  of  resorting  to  the  native  districts  of  the 
breed,  for  the  means  of  maintaining  their  stocks  in  a  state  of 

The  wool  of  this  breed  weighs  about  three  and  a  half  pounds 

96  THE  SHEEP. 

the  fleece.  It  formerly  used  to  be  employed  for  the  making 
of  cloths ;  but,  from  the  extensive  employment  of  the  Merino 
wool  of  Saxony  and  Spain,  it  is  now  scarcely  employed  for 
this  purpose,  and  is  prepared  by  the  process  of  combing  in 
place  of  carding,  for  the  coarser  manufactures.  The  atten- 
tion of  breeders,  too,  having  been  mainly  directed  to  the  fat- 
tening properties  of  the  animal,  the  wool  has  diminished  in 
fineness,  though  it  has  increased  in  length  and  weight.  Its 
quality  varies  somewhat  with  the  pastures,  being  finer  where 
the  shorter  grasses  prevail,  and  coarser  where  the  herbage  is 
rough  and  heathy. 

The  management  of  the  Cheviot  resembles  that  of  the 
Black-faced  Heath  Sheep  ;  but  as,  for  the  most  part,  they 
occupy  a  lower  range  of  mountains,  better  means  exist  of  sup- 
plying them  with  food  during  the  inclement  season  of  winter. 

They  are  suffered  to  range  over  the  grounds  assigned  to 
them,  and  their  artificial  food  is  only  subsidiary  to  the  natural 
herbage  of  the  farm.  It  is  supplied  chiefly  during  falls  of 
snow,  and  consists  either  of  the  hay  of  the  cultivated  grasses 
or  clovers,  where  this  can  be  obtained,  or  is  the  produce  of 
the  swamps  and  perennial  meadows  of  the  farm.  When  tur- 
nips can  be  produced,  these  likewise  are  supplied  at  the  fit- 
ting times.  The  breeder  of  these  Sheep,  as  in  the  case  of 
the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed,  is  not  necessarily  the  person 
who  feeds  them  for  ultimate  use.  He  rears  them  to  a  cer- 
tain age,  and  then  transfers  them  to  those  whose  farms  enable 
them  to  bring  them  to  the  required  maturity.  This  consti- 
tutes the  great  traffic  between  the  farmers  of  the  higher  and 
lower  country,  and  is  a  fitting  division  of  labour  and  employ- 
ment. Sometimes,  indeed,  the  breeder  of  these  Sheep,  by 
possessing  low  and  cultivated  ground,  or  otherwise,  is  en- 
abled to  combine  the  practices  of  rearing  and  fattening ;  but 
the  essential  destination  of  the  higher  farms  is  the  rearing 
and  not  the  fattening  of  stock,  and  the  two  occupations, 
though  they  may  be  combined,  are  essentially  distinct.  The 
stock  often  passes  through  several  intervening  graziers  and 



feeders,  before  it  is  fattened  for  ultimate  use.  In  general, 
the  Cheviot  Sheep  are  fattened  at  an  earlier  age  than  the 
Black-faced  Heath  Sheep,  partly  on  account  of  the  greater 
precocity  of  the  animals,  but  chiefly  on  account  of  the  supe- 
rior treatment  which  they  receive  when  young.  The  Cheviot 
breeder  may  sell  his  Sheep  in  the  first  year  when  hoggets, 
but  very  generally  in  the  second  year,  either  when  they  re- 
tain their  fleece  and  are  still  hoggets,  or  after  they  are 
divested  of  their  fleece  and  are  shearlings,  or,  in  the  lan- 
guage of  the  northern  farmer,  dinmonts  and  gimmers.  They 
are  rarely  fattened  when  shearlings,  the  usual  period  being 
after  they  have  lost  their  second  fleece,  and  are  wethers.  The 
ewes,  after  having  borne  lambs  for  several  years,  generally 
three,  are  sold,  and  their  place  supplied  by  the  younger 
females  reared  on  the  farm,  which  at  that  time  are  in  the 
autumn  of  the  second  year,  and  about  nineteen  months 

The  rams  are  usually  admitted  to  the  ewes  about  the 
20th  of  November,  so  that  the  season  of  lambing  may  com- 
mence in  the  early  part  of  April.  One  ram  is  assigned  to 
sixty  ewes. 

The  ewes,  during  the  period  of  gestation,  feed  on  the 
natural  pastures  of  the  farm,  but,  on  the  falling  of  heavy 
snows,  receive  a  supply  of  hay,  which  may  be  spread  upon 
the  surface.  But  the  Sheep  have  a  wonderful  faculty  of 
collecting  their  food,  even  when  all  the  ground  is  covered, 
by  scraping  away  the  snow  with  their  feet,  and  they  prefer 
this  natural  food  to  the  dried  provender.  When  turnips  as 
well  as  hay  are  produced  on  the  farm,  the  ewes  receive  them 
likewise  during  falls  of  snow  ;  but  it  is  especially  at  the 
period  of  lambing,  and  during  its  continuance,  that  this  spe- 
cies of  food  is  supplied. 

When  the  period  of  lambing  arrives,  all  the  vigilance  of 
the  shepherds  is  required.  Sometimes  the  ewes  are  so  en- 
feebled by  want  of  food,  and  the  inclemency  of  the  weather, 
that  they  have  not  milk  sufficient  to  nourish  their  young,  and 


yo  THE  SHEEP. 

then  the  maternal  feeling  seems  to  become  extinct.  But  this 
latter  accident  is  of  partial  occurrence,  and  it  is  rare  that  the 
mothers  altogether  abandon  their  young.  Sometimes  the 
lambs,  at  their  birth,  are  so  weak  that  they  cannot  rise  from 
the  ground,  and  thus  perish.  In  such  cases,  the  shepherd  is 
at  hand  to  assist  the  young  to  the  teat,  and  often  he  takes 
the  ewe  with  her  young  to  a  place  of  shelter,  where  they  can 
be  more  carefully  tended.  When  a  ewe  dies,  and  it  is  wished 
to  give  her  lamb  to  one  that  has  lost  her  own  young,  or  when 
a  ewe  has  twins,  and  it  is  wished  to  give  one  of  them  to  be 
suckled  by  another  whose  own  lamb  has  perished,  some  art 
is  often  required  to  induce  the  ewe  to  adopt  the  stranger. 
The  most  common  method  is  to  confine  them  together  to  a 
narrow  space,  holding  the  lamb  to  the  teat  until  it  has  been 
suckled.  In  certain  cases,  when  the  lamb  of  any  ewe  has 
perished,  its  skin  is  taken  off  and  put  on  the  lamb  to  be 
adopted.  The  ewe,  deceived  by  the  smell  of  her  own  off- 
spring, suffers  herself  to  be  sucked,  and  from  that  time  for- 
ward adopts  the  little  orphan,  and  treats  it  with  all  the  kind- 
ness of  the  natural  parent.  It  is  of  painful  interest  to  see  a 
ewe,  whose  lamb  has  perished,  mourning  over  its  little  one, 
and  refusing  to  leave  it  or  be  comforted.  If  the  dead  body 
is  dragged  along  the  ground,  the  poor  mother  will  follow  it 
even  into  the  cot  of  the  shepherd,  fiercely  driving  away  the 
dogs  or  sheep  that  approach  it.  Even  when  the  ewes  them- 
selves are  in  the  agonies  of  death,  they  will  be  seen  calling 
piteously  to  their  young  ones,  and  offering  them  the  last  store 
of  milk  with  which  Nature  has  furnished  them.  When  the 
ewes  have  twins,  and  thus  have  two  lambs  to  nurse,  it  is 
usual  to  give  them  a  more  liberal  supply  of  food.  It  is  held 
to  be  convenient  to  have  an  enclosure  of  early  grass  near  the 
place  of  lambing  or  the  shepherd's  cottage,  to  which  ewes 
with  twins,  such  as  have  too  little  milk,  and  such  as  are  sick 
and  infirm,  or  from  any  cause  require  more  careful  attend- 
ance than  the  rest  of  the  flock,  may  be  taken.  Though  va- 
rious ewes  produce  twins,  it  is  regarded  as  a  favourable  cir- 



cumstance  in  the  case  of  this  class  of  Sheep,  in  the  more 
mountain  districts,  when  one  lamb  can  be  reared  for  each 
ewe  of  the  flock.  It  is  thought  to  be  well  when  eighteen  or 
nineteen  lambs  can  be  brought  up  for  every  twenty  ewes. 

The  time  of  shearing  these  Sheep  is  from  the  middle  of 
June  to  the  beginning  of  July.  The  precise  period  is  denoted 
by  the  wool  being  fully  grown,  and  separating  readily  from 
the  skin  when  pulled.  The  Sheep  are  first  washed,  which 
is  done  by  men  standing  in  the  pool,  and  washing  each  Sheep 
separately,  or  more  generally,  when  the  flock  is  large,  by 
causing  them  to  swim  two  or  three  times  through  the  water 
to  the  opposite  bank.  After  being  washed,  they  are  kept  as 
much  as  possible  on  ground  where  they  can  be  prevented  from 
rubbing  on  banks,  or  otherwise  soiling  their  wool.  In  two 
days,  if  there  be  no  rain,  they  are  shorn,  but  it  is  generally 
thought  better  to  wait  seven  or  eight  days,  in  which  case  the 
unctuous  secretion  which  protects  the  wool  has  again  been 
formed.  As  soon  as  each  Sheep  is  shorn,  it  is  usually  marked 
with  a  stamp  dipped  in  boiling  tar  thickened  with  pitch.  The 
mark  is  made  on  different  parts  of  the  body,  as  the  near 
shoulder,  the  far  shoulder,  the  near  haunch,  the  far  haunch, 
so  that  the  different  kinds  and  ages  of  the  Sheep  may  be 
known  at  a  glance. 

Soon  after  shearing  the  ewes,  the  lambs  are  weaned,  which 
is  simply  effected  by  a  short  separation  of  them  from  the 
dams.  The  lambs  are  now,  in  the  language  of  farmers,  hog- 
gets or  hogs,  under  the  respective  denominations  of  tup-hogs, 
wether-hogs,  and  ewe-hogs.  The  tup-hogs  intended  for  use 
upon  the  farm  or  sale,  and  such  of  the  ewe-hogs  as  are  designed 
for  receiving  the  male  in  the  following  year,  are  retained. 
The  remainder  of  the  ewe-hogs,  and  all  the  wether-hogs,  are 
either  now  disposed  of,  or  kept  throughout  the  winter  and 
sold  in  the  following  year,  either,  as  has  been  observed,  pre- 
vious to  the  period  of  shearing,  when  they  are  still  hogs,  or 
after  having  lost  their  fleece,  when  they  are  dinmonts  and 

100  THE  SHEEP. 

gimmers.  Sometimes  they  are  kept  until  they  have  yielded 
a  second  fleece.  All  the  old  ewes  which  have  borne  the  re- 
quired number  of  lambs  are  disposed  of  before  winter,  and 
not  only  such  ewes  as  are  old,  but  such  as  are  of  bad  form, 
or  which  it  is  wished  for  any  cause  to  get  rid  of.  The  hogs 
which  are  retained  are  treated  in  the  same  manner  as  the 
breeding  ewes,  except  that  it  is  common  to  put  them  on 
some  grassy  and  sheltered  part  of  the  farm  where  they  can 
be  best  pastured.  They  receive  hay  in  falls  of  snow,  and,  if 
possible,  turnips  are  supplied  to  them  during  the  whole  win- 
ter, which  may  be  done  at  the  rate  of  a  cart-load  per  day  for 
every  seven  or  eight  scores. 

The  practice  of  smearing  the  skins  before  winter  with  tar, 
was  formerly  in  more  general  use  in  the  case  of  this  breed 
of  Sheep  than  it  has  since  become.  It  is  now  chiefly  con- 
fined to  the-  more  elevated  districts,  or  the  more  northern 
counties.  The  disuse  of  the  practice  has  arisen,  not  on  ac- 
count of  any  experience  of  its  inefficiency  as  a  preservative 
to  the  health  of  the  animals,  but  on  account  of  the  injury  to 
the  quality  of  the  wool,  occasioned  by  the  tarry  ingredient. 
On  this  account,  substitutes  for  the  tar  are  now  very  gene- 
rally employed.  These  are,  olive  oil  mixed  with  turpentine, 
impure  naphtha,  commonly  called  spirits  of  tar,  or  other 
substances,  which  serve  the  purpose  of  destroying  vermin 
and  removing  cutaneous  affections,  but  which  are  scarcely 
so  efficient  for  preserving  health  as  the  old  mixture. 

In  the  modern  management  of  these  Sheep,  a  principle 
observed  is  to  suffer  them  as  much  as  possible  to  pasture 
undisturbed.  On  this  account  the  dividing  of  the  stock  of 
the  farm  into  a  number  of  flocks  or  hirsels,  to  each  of  which 
is  assigned  a  certain  range  of  pasturage,  is  much  less  used 
than  formerly.  The  practice  of  folding  Sheep  at  night,  for 
the  purpose  of  manuring  parts  of  the  farm,  is  now  abandoned 
by  all  who  are  conversant  with  the  proper  management  of 
this  kind  of  Sheep.  The  practice,  too,  of  milking  the  ewes 



for  several  weeks  after  the  lambs  are  weaned,  is  now  very 
much  given  up,  experience  shewing,  that  the  exhaustion  and 
disturbance  of  ewes  render  them  less  fitted  to  withstand  the 
privations  and  severities  of  winter,  and  to  nourish  their 
young  when  the  season  of  parturition  arrives.  It  is  usual, 
however,  to  milk  the  ewes  after  weaning  for  a  few  days,  so 
as  to  run  them  dry  by  degrees.  In  cases  where  the  practice 
of  milking  for  several  weeks  is  adopted,  the  milk  is  churned 
for  the  use  of  the  farm;  and  twenty  ewes  will  yield  five 
pounds  of  butter  in  the  week. 

The  number  of  Sheep  assigned  to  the  care  of  one  shepherd 
is  from  400  to  500.  When  the  flock  consists  wholly  of  ewes, 
this  number  is  as  much  as  one  man  can  conveniently  manage, 
but  when  the  flock  consists  of  hoggets  and  shearlings,  one 
shepherd  may  manage  700  or  800.  An  average  allowance 
for  one  shepherd  is  400  ewes  and  200  hoggets. 

To  the  shepherd  of  these  mountainous  countries,  the  ser- 
vices of  the  Dog  are  indispensable.  Without  this  faithful 
creature,  his  individual  labour  would  be  insufficient  to  collect 
the  animals  from  distant  parts,  drive  them  in  flocks,  or  per- 
form the  other  innumerable  services  required.  The  breed 
of  Dogs  used  in  the  mountains  of  Cheviot,  and  the  pastoral 
districts  of  Scotland,  is  of  small  size  and  homely  exterior, 
but  adapted  in  an  eminent  degree  to  the  services  to  be  per- 
formed. For  sagacity  and  fidelity,  these  humble  Dogs  cannot 
be  surpassed ;  they  understand  the  language  of  their  master, 
and  almost  seem  to  divine  his  thoughts.  Their  whole  habits 
seem  fashioned  to  the  life  they  lead.  When  taken  from  their 
natural  pursuits,  their  spirit  seems  to  droop,  or  at  least  they 
never  manifest,  in  other  situations,  that  matchless  sagacity 
which  distinguishes  them  in  the  occupation  of  the  shepherd 

The  entire  management  of  these  and  the  other  mountain 
Sheep  of  the  northern  part  of  Britain,  has  no  parallel,  it  is 
believed,  in  the  same  latitudes  in  Europe.  In  no  other 

102  THE  SHEEP. 

country,  similarly  situated  with  respect  to  climate,  are  the 
Sheep  kept  so  entirely  exposed  to  the  inclemencies  of  the 
weather,  without  the  shelter  of  pens  and  houses.  The  ab- 
sence of  Wolves  is  the  cause  of  that  freedom  which  is  allowed 
to  these  mountain  flocks ;  and  the  shepherds  have  been  taught 
by  experience,  that  the  animals  may  be  exposed  by  night  as 
well  as  by  day  without  harm.  Were  these  Sheep  managed 
as  in  other  parts  of  the  Continent  of  Europe,  penned  and  fed 
in  houses,  and  prevented  from  taking  their  natural  food,  the 
mountains  of  the  country  could  not  maintain  one-fourth  part 
of  the  present  numbers. 

The  great  desiderata  sought  for  in  the  elevated  countries 
of  these  mountain  Sheep,  are  the  supply  of  food  and  shelter 
in  winter.  The  essential  food,  when  the  ground  is  covered 
with  snow,  is  hay  ;  a  field  or  more  being  formed,  one  of  which 
is  mown  annually.  Rough  boggy  ground,  producing  the 
rushes  proper  to  the  situation,  as  the  sharp-flowered  jointed 
rush  or  sprit,  is  suited  for  yielding  a  kind  of  hay,  which, 
though  coarse  and  comparatively  innutritious,  is  eaten  by 
the  Sheep  in  the  absence  of  other  food.  Where  irrigation 
is  practicable,  watered  meadows  are  sometimes  constructed, 
affording  the  cheapest  and  securest  means  of  supplying  pro- 
vender in  these  elevated  countries.  In  all  cases  a  quantity 
of  hay  is  provided,  which  should  be  equal  to  three  months' 
consumption,  at  the  rate  of  one  and  a  half  pound  per  day 
to  the  breeding  ewes,  and  one  pound  to  the  younger  sheep. 
When  whins  grow  naturally,  they  are  preserved,  as  affording 
not  only  food  but  shelter. 

When  the  pastures  consist  of  rough  heath,  it  is  common 
to  burn  it  at  intervals  of  several  years,  in  the  early  part  of 
spring.  This,  destroying  the  more  shrubby  stems,  produces 
an  increased  growth  of  the  more  tender  shoots. 

Draining  is  held  to  be  very  important  in  the  countries  oc- 
cupied by  these  Sheep.  The  drains  are  narrow  open  trenches, 
a  spade's  breadth  in  width.  They  are  carried  along  the  flat 


marshy  grounds,  or  along  the  declivities  of  hills,  wherever 
water  may  stagnate.  They  are  designed  to  allow  a  speedy 
egress  to  water  on  the  surface,  and  the  effect  is  to  improve 
the  pastures,  and  lessen  the  tendency  to  the  dangerous  malady 
of  rot. 

When  land  exists  capable  of  cultivation,  the  resources  of 
food  may  be  greatly  extended,  for  then  turnips  as  well  as 
hay  can  be  supplied.  But  an  error,  too  common  in  such  dis- 
tricts, should  be  avoided,  of  ploughing  more  land  than  is 
required  for  the  ends  proposed.  The  purpose  of  tillage  in 
such  situations  is  the  raising  of  turnips  and  clover  hay  for 
the  supply  of  the  stock ;  and  this  end  being  attained,  the 
farmer  ought  never  to  carry  his  system  of  tillage  further  on 
a  purely  breeding  farm. 

In  order  that  the  Sheep  of  these  farms  may  pasture  with- 
out disturbance,  arid  that  the  labour  of  the  shepherds  may 
be  abridged,  it  is  held  to  be  highly  useful,  and  even  neces- 
sary, that  each  farm  be  enclosed.  The  suitable  fence  for 
such  situations  is  the  stone  wall,  for  the  forming  of  which 
ample  materials  are  for  the  most  to  be  found  on  the  grounds. 
This  species  of  wall  is  formed  of  stones  without  the  aid  of 
lime,  about  five  feet  in  height.  Sods  are  sometimes  used  in 
place  of  stones ;  but  the  fences  are  greatly  less  permanent 
and  useful,  and  ought  never  to  be  formed  where  better  mate- 
rials exist. 

The  uses  and  value  of  shelter  in  countries  so  elevated  and 
exposed  are  everywhere  recognised.  When  natural  valleys 
and  glens  exist,  these  are  taken  advantage  of  to  shelter  the 
flock  from  the  piercing  storms  of  the  inclement  season.  In 
such  cases,  the  shepherd  himself  drives  his  flock  to  the  places 
which  afford  shelter,  and  the  Sheep  of  their  own  accord  be- 
take themselves  to  the  natural  coverts  of  the  farm.  But 
though  the  instincts  of  the  animals  will  cause  them  to  avoid 
a  coming  tempest,  by  repairing  to  the  lee  sides  of  eminences 
for  shelter,  these  are  the  very  situations  in  which  they  may 
be  overwhelmed  by  heavy  falls  of  snow,  which,  when  accom- 

104  THE  SHEEP. 

panied  by  winds,  sometimes  fill  up  all  the  hollows  in  a  few 
hours.  These  accidents  occasionally  occur,  and  so  sudden 
and  violent  is  the  storm,  that  whole  flocks  of  Sheep  are  buried 
under  masses  of  snow.  Nay,  sometimes  the  shepherds 
themselves,  in  their  attempts  to  discover  and  save  the  scat- 
tered flocks,  are  bewildered  and  suffocated  in  the  tempest. 

It  is  regarded  as  of  high  importance,  then,  not  only  to 
provide  shelter  against  the  piercing  blasts  of  these  elevated 
countries,  but  to  afford  places  of  refuge  to  the  stock  in  cases 
of  danger.  Plantations  of  wood  are  always  found  to  be  be- 
neficial in  these  mountain  farms,  and  when  the  means  exist 
of  rearing  wood,  may  be  formed  with  profit.  They  should  be 
of  the  size  of  not  less  than  four  or  five  acres,  so  that  the  trees 
may  shelter  one  another,  and  formed  with  salient  angles,  so 
that  the  Sheep  may  have  shelter  from  whatever  point  the 
wind  may  blow.  They  are  enclosed  with  stone  walls,  so  that 
the  trees  may  be  protected  from  the  inroads  of  the  Sheep. 
The  wild  pine  and  spruce  are  found  to  be  the  best  suited  for 
the  purpose,  though  the  larch  will  grow  in  situations  more 
elevated.  But  wood  cannot  always  be  cultivated  in  situa- 
tions so  bleak  and  exposed,  and  a  simple  substitute  is  adopted. 
This  is  a  small  enclosure,  termed  a  Stell,  capable  of  contain- 
ing a  flock  of  Sheep.  It  consists  of  a  dry-stone  wall,  six  feet 
high,  and  is  usually  circular,  with  a  narrow  opening,  and 
may  be  made  of  a  size  to  contain  200  Sheep  or  more.  Into 
these  places  of  refuge  the  Sheep  are  driven  when  occasion 
requires.  They  are  thus  protected  from  danger,  and  a  stack 
of  hay  being  placed  at  the  entrance,  or  within  the  enclosure, 
they  may  be  fed  during  the  continuance  of  the  snow.  A 
sufficient  number  of  these  stells  being  placed  in  suitable 
situations,  there  exist  places  of  security,  to  which  the  Sheep 
on  different  parts  of  the  farm  may  be  promptly  conveyed. 

No  words  can  convey  to  those  who  have  never  witnessed 
the  scene,  an  idea  of  the  terrible  effect  of  the  winter  storms 
which  ravage  these  alpine  regions.  In  an  amusing  series  of 
Tales,  by  James  Hogg,  commonly  known  as  the  Etterick 


Shepherd,  graphic  descriptions  are  given  of  the  scenes  of 
desolation  which  sometimes  present  themselves,  and  of  which 
the  memory  survives  from  generation  to  generation  in  the 
traditionary  annals  of  the  shepherds.  Of  one  of  these,  fami- 
liarly termed  the  Thirteen  Drifty  Days,  he  thus  speaks  from 
tradition  : — 

"  It  is  said,  that  for  thirteen  days  and  nights  the  snow- 
drift never  once  abated  :  the  ground  was  covered  with  frozen 
snow  when  it  commenced,  and  during  all  the  time  of  its  con- 
tinuance, the  Sheep  never  broke  their  fast.  The  cold  was  in- 
tense to  a  degree  never  before  remembered ;  and  about  the 
fifth  and  sixth  days  of  the  storm,  the  young  Sheep  began  to 
fall  into  a  sleepy  and  torpid  state,  and  all  that  were  so  affected 
in  the  evening  died  over-night.  .The  intensity  of  the  frost- 
wind  often  cut  them  off,  when  in  that  state,  quite  instanta- 
neously. About  the  ninth  and  tenth  days,  the  shepherds  be- 
gan to  build  up  huge  semicircular  walls  of  their  dead,  in 
order  to  afford  some  shelter  for  the  living  remainder ;  but 
such  shelter  availed  little,  for  about  the  same  time  the  want 
of  food  began  to  be  felt  so  severely,  that  they  were  frequently 
seen  tearing  one  another's  wool  with  their  teeth.  When  the 
storm  abated,  on  the  fourteenth  day  from  its  commencement, 
there  was  on  many  a  high-lying  farm  not  a  living  sheep  to  be 
seen.  Large  misshapen  walls  of  dead,  surrounding  a  small 
prostrate  flock,  likewise  all  dead,  and  frozen  stiff  in  their  lairs, 
were  all  that  remained  to  the  forlorn  shepherd  and  his  mas- 
ter ;  and  though  on  low-lying  farms,  where  the  snow  was  not 
so  hard  before  the  tempest  began, "numbers  of  sheep  weathered 
the  storm,  yet  their  constitutions  received  such  a  shock,  that 
the  greater  part  of  them  perished  afterwards  ;  and  the  final 
consequence  was,  that  about  nine-tenths  of  all  the  sheep  in 
the  south  of  Scotland  were  destroyed.  In  the  extensive  pas- 
toral district  of  Eskdale-muir,  which  maintains  upwards  of 
20,000  sheep,  it  is  said  none  were  left  alive,  but  forty  young 
wethers  on  one  farm,  and  five  old  ewes  on  another.  The 
farm  of  Phaup  remained  without  a  stock  and  without  a  ten- 

106  THE  SHEEP. 

ant  for  twenty  years  after  the  storm  ;  and  when  at  length 
one  very  honest  and  liberal-minded  man  ventured  to  take  a 
lease  of  it,  it  was  at  the  annual  rent  of  *  a  great-coat  and  a 
pair  of  hose  !'  It  is  now  rented  at  L.500  a-year.  An  ex- 
tensive glen  in  Tweedsmuir,  now  belonging  to  Sir  James 
Montgomery  of  Stanhope,  became  a  common  at  that  time,  to 
which  any  man  drove  his  flocks  that  pleased,  arid  it  continued 
so  for  nearly  a  century." 

He  continues :  "  The  years  1709,  1740,  and  1772,  were 
likewise  all  years  notable  for  severity,  and  for  the  losses  sus- 
tained among  the  flocks  of  sheep.  In  the  latter,  the  snow 
lay  from  the  middle  of  December  until  the  middle  of  April, 
and  was  all  that  time  hard  frozen.  Partial  thaws  always 
kept  the  farmer's  hopes  of  relief  alive,  and  thus  prevented 
him  from  removing  his  sheep  to  a  lower  situation,  till  at 
length  they  grew  so  weak  that  they  could  not  be  removed. 
There  has  not  been  such  a  general  loss  in  the  days  of  any 
man  living  as  in  that  year." 

"  But  of  all  the  storms  that  ever  Scotland  witnessed,  or  I 
hope  ever  will  again  behold,  there  is  none  of  them  that  can 
once  be  compared  with  that  of  the  memorable  night  between 
Friday  the  24th  and  Saturday  the  25th  of  January  1794. 
This  storm  fell  with  peculiar  violence  on  that  division  of  the 
South  of  Scotland  that  lies  between  Crawford-muir  and  the 
Border.  In  these  bounds  seventeen  shepherds  perished,  and 
upwards  of  thirty  were  carried  home  insensible,  who  after- 
wards recovered.  The  number  of  sheep  that  were  lost  far 
outwent  any  possibility  of  calculation.  Whole  flocks  were 
overwhelmed  with  snow,  and  no  one  ever  knew  where  they 
were  till  the  snow  was  dissolved,  and  they  were  all  found 
dead.  I  myself  witnessed  one  particular  instance  of  this,  on 
the  farm  of  Thickside  :  there  were  twelve  scores  of  excellent 
ewes,  all  one  age,  that  were  missing  all  the  time  that  the 
snow  lay,  which  was  only  a  week,  and  no  traces  of  them 
could  be  found  ;  when  the  snow  went  away,  they  were  dis- 
covered all  lying  dead,  with  their  heads  one  way,  as  if  a  flock 


of  sheep  had  dropped  dead  going  from  the  washing.  Many 
hundreds  were  driven  into  waters,  burns,  and  lakes,  by  the 
violence  of  the  storm,  where  they  were  buried  or  frozen  up, 
and  these  the  flood  carried  away,  so  that  they  were  never 
seen  or  found  by  the  owners  at  all.  The  greater  part  of  the 
rivers  on  which  the  storm  was  most  deadly  run  into  the  Sol- 
way  Frith,  on  which  there  is  a  place  called  the  Beds  of  Esk, 
where  the  tide  throws  out,  and  leaves,  whatever  is  carried 
into  it  by  the  rivers.  When  the  flood  after  the  storm  sub- 
sided, there  were  found  on  that  place,  and  the  shores  adjacent, 
one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  forty  sheep,  nine  black  cattle, 
three  horses,  two  men,  one  woman,  forty-five  dogs,  and  one 
hundred  and  eighty  hares,  besides  a  number  of  meaner  ani- 

After  describing  his  return  from  a  distant  excursion  through 
the  mountains,  and  certain  presages  of  a  coming  storm,  he 
continues : — 

"  I  then  went  to  my  bed  in  the  byre-loft,  where  I  slept  with 
a  neighbour  shepherd,  named  Borthwick ;  but  though  fatigued 
with  walking  through  the  snow,  I  could  not  close  an  eye,  so 
that  I  heard  the  first  burst  of  the  storm,  which  commenced 
between  one  and  two,  with  a  fury  that  no  one  can  conceive 
who  does  not  remember  it.  Besides,  the  place  where  I  lived 
being  exposed  to  two  or  three  '  gathered  winds,'  as  they  are 
called  by  shepherds,  the  storm  raged  there  with  redoubled 
fury.  It  began  all  at  once,  with  such  a  tremendous  roar,  that 
I  imagined  it  was  a  peal  of  thunder,  until  I  felt  the  house 
trembling  to  its  foundation.  In  a  few  minutes  I  thrust  my 
naked  arm  through  a  hole  in  the  roof,  in  order,  if  possible,  to 
ascertain  what  was  going  on  without,  for  not  a  ray  of  light 
could  I  see.  I  could  not  then,  nor  can  I  yet,  express  my 
astonishment :  so  completely  was  the  air  overloaded  with 
falling  and  driving  snow,  that,  but  for  the  force  of  the  wind, 
I  felt  as  if  I  had  thrust  my  arm  into  a  wreath  of  snow.  I 
deemed  it  a  judgment  sent  from  Heaven  upon  us,  and  went 
to  bed  again,  trembling  with  agitation.5'  "  I  kept  my  bed 

108  THE    SHEEP. 

for  about  three  quarters  of  an  hour  longer ;  and  then 
rose,  and  on  reaching  the  house  with  much  difficulty,  found 
our  master,  the  ploughman,  Borthwick,  and  the  two  servant 
maids,  sitting  round  the  kitchen  fire,  with  looks  of  dismay,  I 
may  almost  say  despair.  We  all  agreed  at  once,  that  the 
sooner  we  were  able  to  reach  the  sheep,  the  better  chance 
we  had  to  save  a  remnant ;  and  as  there  were  eight  hundred 
excellent  ewes,  all  in  one  lot,  but  a  long  way  distant,  and 
the  most  valuable  lot  of  any  on  the  farm,  we  resolved  to 
make  a  bold  effort  to  reach  them.  Our  master  made  family 
worship,  a  duty  he  never  neglected ;  but  that  morning  the 
manner  in  which  he  expressed  our  trust  and  confidence  in 
Heaven,  was  particularly  affecting.  We  took  our  breakfast 
— filled  our  pockets  with  bread  and  cheese — sewed  our  plaids 
around  us — tied  down  our  hats  with  napkins  coming  below 
our  chins — and  each  taking  a  strong  staff  in  his  hand,  we 
set  out  on  the  attempt. 

"  No  sooner  was  the  door  closed  behind  us  than  we  lost 
sight  of  each  other :  seeing  there  was  none — it  was  impos- 
sible for  a  man  to  see  his  hand  held  up  before  him — and  it 
was  still  two  hours  till  day.  We  had  no  means  of  keeping  to- 
gether but  by  following  to  one  another's  voices,  nor  of  work- 
ing our  way  save  by  groping  before  us  with  our  staves.  It 
soon  appeared  to  me  a  hopeless  concern,  for,  ere  ever  we  got 
clear  of  the  houses  and  hay-stacks,  we  had  to  roll  ourselves 
over  two  or  three  wreaths  which  it  was  impossible  to  wade 
through  ;  and  all  the  while  the  wind  and  drift  were  so  violent, 
that  every  three  or  four  minutes  we  were  obliged  to  hold  our 
faces  down  between  our  knees  to  recover  our  breath.  We 
soon  got  into  an  eddying  wind  that  was  altogether  insuffer- 
able, and,  at  the  same  time,  we  were  struggling  among  snow 
so  deep,  that  our  progress  in  the  way  we  proposed  going  was 
very  equivocal  indeed,  for  we  had  by  this  time  lost  all  idea 
of  east,  west,  north,  or  south.  Still  we  were  as  busy  as  men 
determined  on  an  enterprize  of  moment  could  be,  and  perse- 
vered on  we  knew  not  whither,  sometimes  rolling  over  the 


snow,  and  sometimes  weltering  in  it  up  to  the  chin.  The  fol- 
lowing instance  of  our  successful  exertions  marks  our  pro- 
gress to  a  tittle  :  There  was  an  enclosure  around  the  house 
to  the  westward,  which  we  denominated  '  the  Park,'  as  was 
customary  in  Scotland  at  that  period,  and  in  that  quarter, 
where  a  farm  seldom  boasted  more  than  one  enclosed  piece 
of  ground.  When  we  went  away  we  calculated  that  it  was 
two  hours  until  day  ;  the  park  did  not  extend  above  three 
hundred  yards ;  and  we  were  still  engaged  in  it  when  day- 
light appeared.  When  we  got  free  of  the  park,  we  also  got 
free  of  the  eddy  of  the  wind.  It  was  now  straight  in  our 
faces  ;  we  went  in  a  line  before  each  other,  and  changed 
places  every  three  or  four  minutes,  and  at  length,  after  great 
fatigue,  reached  a  long  ridge  of  a  hill  where  the  snow  was 
thinner,  having  been  blown  off  by  the  force  of  the  wind,  and 
by  this  we  had  hopes  of  reaching  within  a  short  space  of  the 
ewes,  which  were  still  a  mile  and  a  half  distant.  Our  master 
had  taken  the  lead  ;  I  was  next  him,  and  soon  began  to  sus- 
pect, from  the  depth  of  the  snow,  that  he  was  leading  us  quite 
wrong ;  but,  as  we  always  trusted  implicitly  to  the  person  that 
was  foremost  for  the  time,  I  said  nothing  for  a  good  while, 
until  satisfied  that  we  were  going  in  a  direction  very  nearly 
right  opposite  to  that  we  intended.  I  then  tried  to  expostulate 
with  him ;  but  he  did  not  seem  to  understand  what  I  said;  and, 
on  getting  a  glimpse  of  his  countenance,  I  perceived  that  it 
was  quite  altered.  Not  to  alarm  the  others,  nor  even  him- 
self, I  said  I  was  becoming  terribly  fatigued,  and  proposed 
that  we  should  lean  on  the  snow,  and  take  each  a  little 
whisky  (for  I  had  brought  a  small  bottle  in  my  pocket,  for 
fear  of  the  worst),  and  some  bread  and  cheese.  This  was 
unanimously  agreed  to,  and  I  noted  that  he  swallowed  the 
'spirits  rather  eagerly,  a  thing  not  usual  with  him,  and  when 
he  tried  to  eat,  it  was  long  before  he  could  eat  any  thing.  I 
was  convinced  that  he  would  fail  altogether,  but,  as  it  would 
have  been  easier  to  have  got  him  to  the  shepherd's  house, 

110  THE  SHEEP. 

which  was  before  us,  than  home  again,  I  made  no  proposal 
for  him  to  return.  On  the  contrary,  I  said,  if  they  would  trust 
themselves  entirely  to  me,  I  would  engage  to  lead  them  to  the 
ewes,  without  going  a  foot  out  of  the  way.  The  other  two 
agreed  to  this,  and  acknowledged  that  they  knew  not  where 
they  were  ;  but  he  never  opened  his  mouth,  nor  did  he  speak 
for  two  hours  thereafter.  It  had  only  been  a  temporary  ex- 
haustion, however,  for  he  afterwards  recovered,  and  wrought 
till  night  as  well  as  any  of  us ;  though  he  never  could  recol- 
lect a  single  circumstance  that  occurred  during  that  part  of 
our  way,  nor  a  word  that  was  said,  nor  of  having  got  any  re- 
freshment whatever.  About  half  an  hour  past  ten  we  reached 
the  flock,  and  just  in  time  to  save  them." 

Again :  "  It  was  now  wearing  towards  mid-day,  and  there 
were  occasionally  short  intervals  in  which  we  could  see 
round  us  for  perhaps  a  score  of  yards ;  but  we  got  only  one 
momentary  glance  of  the  hills  around  us  all  that  day.  I 
grew  quite  impatient  to  be  at  my  own  charge,  and  leaving 
the  rest,  I  went  away  to  them  by  myself,  that  is,  I  went  to 
the  division  that  was  left  far  out  on  the  hills,  while  our  mas- 
ter and  the  ploughman  volunteered  to  rescue  those  that  were 
down  on  the  lower  ground.  I  found  mine  in  miserable  cir- 
cumstances ;  but,  making  all  possible  exertion,  I  got  out 
about  one-half  of  them,  which  I  left  in  a  place  of  safety,  and 
made  towards  home,  for  it  was  beginning  to  grow  dark, 
and  the  storm  was  again  raging  in  all  its  darkness  and  fury. 
I  was  not  in  the  least  afraid  of  losing  my  way,  for  I  knew 
all  the  declivities  of  the  hills  so  well,  that  I  could  have  come 
home  with  my  eyes  bound  up ;  and  indeed,  long  ere  I  got 
home,  they  were  of  no  use  to  me.  I  was  terrified  for  the 
water  (Douglas  Burn),  for  in  the  morning  it  was  flooded  and 
gorged  up  with  snow  in  a  dreadful  manner,  and  I  judged  that* 
it  would  be  now  quite  impassable.  At  length  I  came  to  a 
place  where  I  thought  the  water  should  be,  and  fell  a-boring 
and  groping  for  it  with  my  long  staff.  No  :  I  could  find  no 


water,  and  began  to  dread  that,  in  spite  of  my  supposed  ac- 
curacy, I  had  gone  wrong.  This  greatly  surprised  me,  and 
standing  still  to  consider,  I  looked  up  towards  Heaven,  I 
shall  not  say  for  what  cause,  and  to  my  utter  amazement 
thought  I  beheld  trees  over  my  head,  nourishing  abroad  over 
the  whole  sky.  I  never  had  seen  such  an  optical  delusion 
before  ;  it  was  so  like  enchantment  that  I  knew  not  what  to 
think,  but  dreaded  that  some  extraordinary  thing  was  coming 
over  me,  and  that  I  was  deprived  of  my  right  senses.  I  con- 
cluded that  the  storm  was  a  great  judgment  sent  on  us  for 
our  sins,  and  that  this  strange  phantasy  was  connected  with 
it,  an  illusion  effected  by  evil  spirits.  „  I  stood  a  good  while 
in  this  painful  trance  ;  but  at  length,  on  making  a  bold  ex- 
ertion to  escape  from  the  fairy  vision,  I  came  all  at  once  in 
contact  with  the  Old  Tower.  Never  in  my  life  did  I  expe- 
rience such  a  relief;  I  was  not  only  all  at  once  freed  from 
the  fairies,  but  from  the  dangers  of  the  gorged  river.  I  had 
come  over  it  on  some  mountain  of  snow,  I  knew  not  how  nor 
where,  nor  do  I  know  to  this  day.  So  that,  after  all,  what  I 
had  seen  were  trees,  and  trees  of  no  great  magnitude  neither ; 
but  their  appearance  to  my  eyes  it  is  impossible  to  describe. 
I  thought  they  flourished  abroad,  not  for  miles,  but  for  hun- 
dreds of  miles,  to  the  utmost  verges  of  the  visible  heavens. 
Such  a  day  and  such  a  night  may  the  eye  of  a  shepherd  never 
again  behold!" 

No  apology  can  be  due  for  extracting  those  passages. 
Had  the  author  never  written  more  than  his  account  of  the 
storms  of  Etterick,  he  would  deserve  to  be  remembered. 
Even  if  we  shall  imagine  that  a  little  fancy  has  been  mixed 
with  the  reality  of  the  story,  we  must  feel  that  the  Shepherd 
Boy  had  really  mingled  in  the  scenes  which  he  lived  to  paint 
so  well.  One  passage  more  is  worthy  of  note.  It  refers  to 
a  faculty  known  to  be  possessed  by  the  Dogs  of  these  moun- 
tains, of  discovering  the  Sheep  which  have  been  buried  be- 
neath the  snow.  We  know  that  a  similar  instinct  of  the 

112  THE  SHEEP. 

noble  Dogs  of  St  Bernard,  is  employed  to  discover  the  re- 
mains of  the  perished  traveller. 

"  Next  morning  the  sky  was  clear  ;  but  a  cold  intemperate 
wind  still  blew  from  the  north.  The  face  of  the  country  was 
entirely  altered.  The  form  of  every  hill  was  changed,  and 
new  mountains  leaned  over  every  valley.  All  traces  of  burns, 
rivers,  and  lakes,  were  obliterated."  "  When  we  came  to 
the  ground  where  the  sheep  should  have  been,  there  was  not 
one  of  them  above  the  snow.  Here  and  there,  at  a  great 
distance  from  each  other,  we  could  perceive  the  heads  or 
horns  of  stragglers  appearing ;  and  these  were  easily  got 
out ;  but  when  we  had  collected  these  few,  we  could  find  no 
more.  They  had  been  lying  all  abroad  in  a  scattered  state 
when  the  storm  came  on,  and  were  covered  over  just  as  they 
had  been  lying.  It  was  on  a  kind  of  sloping  ground,  that 
lay  half  beneath  the  wind,  and  the  snow  was  uniformly  from 
six  to  eight  feet  deep.  Under  this  the  hogs  were  lying  scat- 
tered over  at  least  one  hundred  acres  of  heathery  ground. 
We  went  about  boring  with  our  long  poles,  and  often  did 
not  find  one  hog  in  a  quarter  of  an  hour.  But  at  length  a 
white  shaggy  colly,  named  Sparkie.  that  belonged  to  the 
cowherd  boy,  seemed  to  have  comprehended  something  of 
our  perplexity,  for  we  observed  him  plying  and  scraping  in 
the  snow  with  great  violence,  and  always  looking  over  his 
shoulder  for  us.  On  going  to  the  spot,  we  found  that  he  had 
marked  straight  above  a  sheep.  From  that  he  flew  to  ano- 
ther, and  so  on  to  another,  as  fast  as  we  could  dig  them  out, 
and  ten  times  faster,  for  he  sometimes  had  twenty  or  thirty 
holes  marked  beforehand." 

Although  these  dreadful  tempests  occur  but  occasionally, 
bad  seasons,  that  is,  seasons  in  which  the  ground  is  covered 
for  a  long  period  with  frozen  snow,  are  common,  and  never 
fail  to  affect,  in  a  serious  manner,  the  health  and  condition 
of  the  flock.  When  they  take  place  at  the  period  of  lamb- 
ing, great  numbers  of  the  young  creatures  perish,  notwith- 
standing every  care  on  the  part  of  the  shepherds. 


The  Cheviot  Breed,  naturalized  in  countries  so  cold  and 
tempestuous,  and  spreading  over  so  large  a  tract  of  country, 
must  be  seen  to  be  of  the  highest  economical  importance. 
The  attention  of  agriculturists,  in  the  district  proper  to  the 
breed,  has  been  skilfully  directed  to  its  improvement.  Su- 
perior feeding  has  had  the  effect  of  enlarging  the  size  of  the 
animals,  and  increasing  the  produce  of  wool ;  but  the  wool, 
as  was  before  observed,  has  become  less  fine,  and  has  almost 
ceased  to  be  used  in  the  manufacture  of  cloths.  It  has, 
therefore,  become  the  interest  of  breeders  to  direct  attention 
to  the  improvement  of  the  form  of  the  animals,  holding  the 
quality  of  the  wool  to  be  a  secondary  consideration.  Never- 
theless, to  this  extent,  attention  to  the  wool  is  proper :  a  fine 
and  close  fleece  indicates  constitutional  hardiness  in  the  in- 
dividuals, and  should  therefore  be  carefully  attended  to  as  a 
character  in  the  breeding  parents. 

The  Cheviot  Breed  amalgamates  readily  with  the  Leices- 
ter ;  and  a  system  of  breeding  has  been  extensively  intro- 
duced for  producing  the  first  cross  of  this  descent.  The 
rams  employed  are  of  the  pure  Leicester  breed;  and  the 
progeny  is  superior  in  size,  weight  of  wool,  and  tendency  to 
fatten,  to  the  native  Cheviot.  The  lambs  of  this  descent  are 
sometimes  disposed  of  to  the  butcher,  and  sometimes  fed 
until  they  are  shearlings,  when  they  can  be  rendered  as  fat 
as  the  parent  Leicesters,  and  not  much  inferior  in  weight ; 
and  further,  they  can  be  raised  to  maturity  under  less  favour- 
able conditions  of  soil  and  herbage  than  the  Leicester.  The 
benefit,  however,  may  be  said  to  end  with  the  first  cross, 
and  the  progeny  of  this  mixed  descent  is  greatly  inferior  to 
the  pure  Cheviot  in  hardiness  of  constitution.  The  system 
is  attended  with  considerable  profit  in  many  cases.  The 
danger  is,  that  it  may  insensibly  produce  a  mixture  of  the 
Leicester  blood  on  the  breeding  farms.  Even  this  may  an- 
swer peculiar  situations ;  but  there  cannot  be  a  question 
that,  for  general  cultivation  in  the  high  and  tempestuous 
countries  to  which  the  Cheviot  breed  is  adapted,  the  race 


114  THE  SHEEP. 

should  be  preserved  in  its  native  purity.  Every  mixture  of 
stranger  blood  has  been  found  to  lessen  that  character  of 
hardiness  which  is  the  distinguishing  character  of  the  race. 
The  beautiful  breed  of  the  South  Downs  would  seem  to  be  of 
all  others  that  which  is  best  adapted  to  improve  the  Cheviot ; 
and  yet  the  experiments  that  have  hitherto  been  made  have 
shewn,  that  the  mixed  progeny  is  inferior  to  the  native 
Cheviot,  in  its  adaptation  to  a  country  of  cold  and  humid 

The  Cheviot  Breed,  it  has  been  seen,  has  been  gradually 
extending  throughout  the  mountainous  parts  of  Scotland.  It 
has  penetrated  southward  in  the  part  of  the  central  chain  of 
elevated  moors  from  which  the  Heath  Breed  has  been  derived. 
It  might  be  yet  greatly  more  extended  in  this  direction,  and 
supersede  many  of  the  flocks  of  ill-formed  animals  which  in- 
habit this  range.  It  has  been  carried  to  Wales,  to  the  high 
lands  of  Dartmoor  and  Exmoor,  and  in  small  numbers  into 
Cornwall.  In  all  these  cases  it  has  been  found  superior  to 
the  native  races.  It  has  even  been  carried  by  settlers  to  the 
boundless  wastes  of  New  South  Wales  ;  but  the  suitable 
breed  for  that  country,  in  which  the  wool  alone  is  of  value,  is 
the  Merino,  although,  as  we  shall  afterwards  have  occasion 
to  see,  some  of  the  Long-woolled  Breeds  may,  with  advantage, 
be  transported  to  this  magnificent  Colony. 


A  remarkable  variety  of  Sheep,  usually  termed  the  Old 
Norfolk  Breed,  occupies  the  higher  lands  of  Norfolk,  Suffolk, 
and  Cambridge.  These  Sheep,  once  very  numerous  in  the 
heathy  districts  of  this  part  of  England,  are  a  wild  and  hardy 
race,  well  fitted  for  a  country  of  scanty  herbage.  Both  sexes 
are  armed  with  horns,  which,  in  the  male,  are  thick  and  spiral. 
Their  limbs  are  long  and  muscular,  their  bodies  are  long, 
and  their  general  form  betokens  activity  and  strength.  They, 


accordingly,  have  been  regarded  as  well-fitted  for  distant 
journeys,  and  for  bearing  the  rough  treatment  of  the  fold. 
They  hold  their  necks  erect,  and,  in  their  carriage,  resemble 
Antelopes.  Their  faces  and  legs  are  covered  with  short  black 
hair  :  their  wool  weighs  from  two  and  a  half  to  four  pounds 
the  fleece,  is  fine  and  silky,  and  possesses  sufficient  felting 
properties  to  fit  it  for  being  made  into  second  or  livery  cloths. 
It  formerly  brought  a  high  relative  price  in  the  market ;  but, 
in  consequence  of  the  increased  use  of  the  finer  wools  of  Spain 
and  Saxony  in  the  manufacture  of  superior  cloths,  the  wool 
of  this,  as  of  the  numerous  other  breeds  which  formerly  pro- 
duced short  or  clothing  wools,  has  declined  in  value. 

These  Sheep  have  much  of  the  aspect  of  the  Black-faced 
Heath  Breed,  but  differ  from  that  race  in  their  longer  body 
and  limbs,  and  in  the  characters  of  the  fleece  ;  their  wool 
not  being  harsh  and  wiry,  as  in  the  case  of  the  Heath  Breed, 
but  soft,  and  suited  for  felting.  The  softness  of  their  fleece 
gives  them  some  affinity  with  the  Southdowns  ;  but  they 
differ  from  that  race  in  their  robuster  form,  and  in  their 
bolder,  wilder,  and  more  restless  habits.  We  must  suppose 
that  the  characters  of  this  breed  have  been  acquired  from 
peculiarities  in  the  soil  and  climate  of  the  district  which  it 
inhabits.  This  tract  is  calcareous,  sandy,  and  naturally  pro- 
ductive of  heaths,  with  hard  and  wiry  grasses.  Being  obliged 
to  traverse  extensive  tracts  to  procure  sufficiency  of  food,  the 
animals  have  become  active  and  muscular ;  and  the  country 
they  inhabit  being  somewhat  elevated,  and  exposed  to  dry 
easterly  winds,  they  are  furnished  with  a  fleece  sufficiently 
close  to  defend  them  from  the  chill  breezes,  without  having 
that  long  coat  of  wool  which  is  needed  in  situations  more 
humid  and  mountainous.  Inhabiting,  too,  a  country  in  which 
chalk,  and  the  detritus  of  chalk,  exist,  the  wool  has  acquired 
that  fineness  which  generally  characterizes  other  races  accli- 
mated in  calcareous  districts.  This  breed  must  be  referred 
to  the  same  general  type  as  the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed ; 
and  we  may  believe,  that  the  characters  which  distinguish  it 

116  THE  SHEEP. 

are  such  as  the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed  would  itself,  in  the 
course  of  ages,  assume  in  a  lower  country  of  chalk  and  heath. 

These  Sheep  were  greatly  esteemed  in  the  districts  which 
produced  them,  and  were  spread  over  a  large  tract  of  coun- 
try. Their  mutton  was,  and  still  is,  held  in  high  estimation  ; 
and  they  were  valued  by  the  butchers  for  producing  a  large 
proportion  of  internal 'fat,  and  by  the  farmers  for  their  adap- 
tation to  the  husbandry  of  the  fold.  They  were  long  the 
prevailing  breed  of  Norfolk  and  Suffolk ;  but,  as  improve- 
ments extended,  they  became  more  confined  to  the  higher 
grounds,  and  animals  of  more  docile  habits  and  superior  fat- 
tening properties  supplied  their  place  in  the  cultivated  coun- 
try. Other  causes,  also,  have  contributed  to  lessen  the  num- 
bers of  this  breed,  and  limit  its  range.  With  the  more  im- 
proved races,  these  wilder  sheep  produce  admirable  first 
crosses,  either  for  being  killed  as  lambs,  or  when  of  an  older 
age.  The  ewes  prove  excellent  nurses,  and  give  birth  to  a 
robust  progeny  ;  and  no  finer  lambs  are  brought  to  the  Eng- 
lish markets  than  the  first  crosses  between  them  and  the 
Leicester  or  South  Down  rams.  This  circumstance  produces 
a  gradual  intermixture  with  the  blood  of  other  varieties,  and 
a  progressive  diminution  of  the  numbers  of  the  pure  race. 
To  such  a  degree  has  this  intermixture  taken  place,  that  the 
perfectly  pure  Norfolk  Breed  is  now  becoming  rare,  and,  if 
breeders  have  not  inducements  afforded  them  to  preserve  it, 
will  soon  cease  to  be  found.  It  is  to  be  observed,  that  the 
greater  number  of  Sheep  now  brought  to  the  markets  of  Lon- 
don under  the  name  of  Norfolks,  are  crosses,  or  the  offspring 
of  crosses,  especially  with  the  Southdowns. 

The  Old  Norfolk  is  thus  sharing  the  fate  of  the  various 
Forest  and  other  breeds  of  this  country,  by  giving  place  to 
races  of  superior  value  with  respect  to  the  power  of  arriving 
at  earlier  maturity  of  muscle  and  fatness.  A  certain  feeling 
of  regret  may  perhaps  exist,  that  a  race  possessing  many 
good  properties,  should  have  been  extinguished  rather  than 
improved.  That  the  Old  Norfolk  was,  like  every  other  breed 


of  Sheep,  susceptible  of  an  essential  change  of  characters, 
cannot  be  doubted.  While  it  might  still  have  retained  its 
property  of  hardiness  and  robustness,  the  too  great  length  of 
the  limbs,  the  flatness  and  lankness  of  the  body,  and,  with 
the  change  of  external  form,  the  too  great  wildness  of  tem- 
per, might  have  been  corrected,  as  in  the  case  of  every  other 
race  of  Sheep  to  which  the  care  of  the  breeder  has  been 
directed.  But  few  breeders  appear  to  have  thought  the  Nor- 
folk so  deserving  of  preservation  and  improvement,  as  to  have 
deemed  it  necessary  to  apply  to  it  those  principles  of  breed- 
ing which  have  been  successfully  applied  to  other  races. 
Very  lately,  indeed,  the  matter  has  occupied  the  attention  of 
the  possessors  of  the  few  unmixed  flocks  which  remain  ;  but, 
unless  these  gentlemen  are  seconded  by  more  extensive  sup- 
port than  they  have  yet  received,  it  is  to  be  believed  that  this 
ancient  race  will,  at  no  distant  time,  be  merged  in  others  which 
have  acquired  a  higher  value  by  the  care  of  the  breeder. 

The  breed  which  of  all  others  has  the  most  trenched  upon 
the  domains  of  the  ancient  Norfolk  is  the  South  Down.  This 
admirable  breed  has  not  only  occupied  districts  formerly  pos- 
sessed by  the  Norfolk,  but  has  been  largely  used  to  cross  the 
latter ;  and  experience  has  shewn,  that  these  crosses  are  su- 
perior in  form,  though  not  in  weight,  to  those  of  the  Leices- 
ter. This  is  a  conclusion  which  might  have  been  drawn  even 
without  the  aid  of  experience.  The  Southdowns,  which  are 
a  short-woolled  race,  and  indigenous  to  a  calcareous  country, 
which  is  also  the  geological  character  of  the  country  of  the 
Nor  folks,  have  a  greater  affinity  with  the  Norfolk  s  than  the 
long-woolled  Leicesters  and  Lincolns,  and  are  therefore  bet- 
ter suited  to  amalgamate  with  them.  It  has  been  seen,  on 
the  other  hand,  that  the  long-woolled  Sheep  of  the  plains  are 
better  fitted  to  unite  with  the  Welsh,  the  Dartmoor,  and  Ex- 
moor,  than  the  fine-woolled  Southdowns  ;  illustrating  a  prin- 
ciple of  breeding  too  often  disregarded,  of  bringing  together 
animals  which  possess  a  certain  community  of  characters. 

118  THE  SHEEP. 


As  connected  with  the  Heath  Breeds  of  the  country  may 
here  be  mentioned  one  of  remarkable  characters,  termed  the 
Penistone.  This  race  inhabits  a  district  of  the  coal  forma- 
tion on  the  confines  of  Yorkshire,  Lancashire,  and  Derbyshire. 
It  is  found  in  the  higher  parts  of  this  district,  where  a  coarse 
heathy  herbage  prevails,  occupying  a  limited  tract  of  about 
twenty-six  miles  by  twenty.  On  the  slopes  of  the  hills,  the 
older  breeds  merge  in  the  crosses  that  have  been  made, 
chiefly  with  the  Leicester.  The  Sheep  are  termed  Penistone, 
from  the  market-town  of  that  name,  lying  a  few  miles  to  the 
south  of  Huddersfield,  in  the  West  Riding  of  Yorkshire,  and 
to  which  they  are  usually  driven  for  sale. 

These  Sheep  have  wool  of  a  medium  length,  of  a  silky  ap- 
pearance, but  harsh  and  wiry,  and  weighing  from  four  to  five 
pounds  the  fleece.  They  have  white  faces  and  legs.  The 
rams  exceed  the  size  of  the  ewes  and  wethers  in  an  unusual 
degree  ;  a  peculiarity  which  is  ascribed  to  their  being  taken  to 
the  lower  country  to  be  reared.  The  rams  alone  have  horns, 
which  are  very  large,  lying  close  to  the  head,  and  projecting 
forward.  A  distinguishing  character  of  this  breed  is  an  ex- 
treme coarseness  of  form,  and  especially  of  the  extremities. 
The  feet  are  large,  the  limbs  bony,  the  shoulders  heavy,  the 
sides  flat ;  but  the  most  singular  characteristic  is  the  length 
and  muscularity  of  the  tail,  in  which  respect  the  Penistone 
Sheep  differ  from  all  others  in  this  country.  This  enlarge- 
ment of  the  tail  is  merely  muscular  and  bony,  and  not  at  all 
analogous  to  the  growth  of  fat  which  takes  place  in  the  tails 
of  certain  Sheep  of  Eastern  countries.  The  mutton  of  these 
Sheep  is  highly  valued  for  its  juiciness  and  flavour. 

The  Penistone  is  manifestly  to  be  referred  to  the  same 
general  type  as  the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed.  It  approaches 
to  this  race  in  the  character  of  its  wool,  but  differs  from  it  in 
its  clumsier  and  less  agile  form.  The  individuals  are  very 


large,  but  weigh  the  least  perhaps  in  proportion  to  their  offal 
and  bulk  of  body,  of  any  sheep  of  this  country. 

It  may  excite  surprise  that  a  breed  possessing  such  charac- 
ters should  have  maintained  its  place  in  the  centre  of  Eng- 
land, in  the  vicinity  of  some  of  the  most  opulent  towns,  and 
on  the  borders  of  districts  the  most  celebrated  for  their 
breeds  of  Sheep.  The  Penistone  district  is,  however,  of 
peculiar  characters.  It  is  high,  yet  yields  a  plentiful  coarse 
herbage  of  heath  and  intermixed  grasses.  It  is  scarcely 
sufficiently  fertile,  or  sufficiently  improved,  for  the  Leicesters, 
and  is  just  such  a  district  as  would  appear  to  be  suited  to 
support  a  coarse  race  of  native  Sheep.  Farmers  have  found 
these  animals  to  be  hardy,  and  adapted  to  the  country  in 
which  they  are  naturalized,  and  hence  have  been  disposed  to 
overlook  their  defects.  Yet  a  gentle  crossing  with  more 
improved  breeds,  might  have  corrected  their  more  palpable 
defects,  without  rendering  them  too  fine  for  their  situation. 
It  may  be  expected,  however,  that  this  coarse  unthrifty  breed 
will  disappear,  either  by  the  effects  of  crossing,  or  by  the  sub- 
stitution of  superior  varieties.  A  breed  which  seems  well 
suited  for  this  district,  at  least  so  long  as  it  remains  in  its 
present  uncultivated  state,  is  the  Cheviot,  which  is  calculated 
to  thrive  well  in  a  country  of  heaths  with  intermixed  grasses. 
Cheviot  flocks  have  indeed  been  introduced  into  the  Peni- 
stone district,  but  the  farmers  dislike  them  on  account  of  their 
smallness  of  size,  not  considering  that  a  greater  number  of 
these  smaller  sheep  could  be  maintained,  and  would  yield  a 
larger  produce  of  mutton  with  less  of  offal,  on  the  same  space 
of  ground.  The  pure  Southdown s  would  be  out  of  place  in 
these  rugged  pastures,  which  are  not  adapted  to  a  race  the 
natives  of  a  country  of  short  and  fine  herbage.  Still  more 
unsuitable  are  other  breeds  which  have  been  employed  to 
cross  these  coarse  animals,  as,  for  example,  the  Ryeland,  one 
of  the  prettiest  little  breeds  in  the  country,  but  differing  in 
all  its  characters  from  the  Penistone. 

120  THE  SHEEP. 


The  Old  Wiltshire  was  a  race  of  Sheep  which  extended 
over  the  greater  part  of  the  county  of  Wilts.  They  were 
the  largest  of  the  fine-woolled  Sheep  of  England.  Their 
heads  were  clumsy,  and  the  outline  of  the  face  remarkably 
arched.  They  had  horns  in  the  male  and  female  :  their  legs 
and  faces  were  white ;  their  wool  was  very  fine,  weighing 
about  two  and  a  half  pounds  the  fleece :  their  mutton  was  of 
tolerable  quality,  and  the  wethers,  although  they  fattened 
slowly,  arrived  at  a  good  size. 

This  breed  was  long  regarded  as  well  adapted  to  the  situa- 
tions in  which  it  was  reared :  its  wool  was  in  great  request, 
and  large  numbers  of  the  fattened  Sheep  were  driven  to  the 
London  markets.  The  breed  may  be  said  to  be  now  nearly 
extinct  in  the  pure  state,  scattered  remnants  of  it  only  ex- 
isting. It  has  been  entirely  superseded  by  the  South  Down 
breed,  which  has  either  been  directly  substituted  for  it,  or 
been  made  to  cross  it,  until  its  distinctive  characters  have 
been  lost.  The  vexation  was  very  great  of  the  older  farmers 
of  Wilts  on  marking  the  progress  of  the  Southdowns,  and 
the  gradual  disappearance  of  the  race  which  they  had  been 
taught  to  regard  as  the  best  in  the  kingdom.  Some  of  them 
declared  that  there  would  not  be  a  pile  of  grass  in  the  county 
if  these  little  black-faced  Southdowns  were  allowed  to  take 
the  place  of  the  fine  tall  Wiltshire. 

The  figure  of  the  Old  Wiltshire  affords  an  exemplification 
of  almost  every  external  character  which  the  breeder  wishes 
to  avoid.  The  large  coarse  head,  the  flat  sides,  and  the 
length  and  thickness  of  the  limbs,  are  very  remarkable  ;  and, 
by  comparing  these  points  with  the  conformation  of  the 
beautiful  race  which  is  now  reared  in  the  same  district,  we 
have  an  instructive  lesson  on  the  proper  form  of  Sheep,  and 
on  the  changes  which  the  care  of  the  breeder  can  effect. 
The  Old  Wiltshire  breed,  however,  had  become  adapted,  in  a 


remarkable  degree,  to  the  conditions,  both  natural  and  artifi- 
cial, under  which  it  was  reared.  The  animals  lived  in  a 
country  of  chalky  hills,  inland,  and  not  exposed  to  severities 
of  temperature,  but  unshaded  from  the  sun's  rays  :  the  herb- 
age being  scanty,  they  had  to  move  to  considerable  distances 
to  collect  their  food ;  and  the  practice,  from  time  immemorial, 
had  been  established,  of  driving  them  great  distances  to  and 
from  the  fold.  To  these  circumstances  was  adapted  an  ani- 
mal having  a  light  fleece,  with  strong  muscular  limbs,  and 
with  the  habitude  of  subsisting  on  scanty  herbage.  Its  fleece 
was  not  only  light,  beyond  that  of  any  other  Sheep  in  this 
country,  but  its  belly  was  destitute  of  wool,  a  character 
which  would  not  have  existed  but  in  the  case  of  a  warm  dry 
soil,  where  the  animal  did  not  require  a  coat  of  wool  between 
his  belly  and  the  humid  earth.  The  animal,  however,  which 
had  acquired  these  properties  was  eminently  deficient  in 
others  which  are  sought  for  in  the  more  improved  state  of 
the  Sheep.  Subsisting  on  scanty  dry  food,  he  had  acquired 
the  habitude  of  fattening  slowly ;  and  the  Old  Wiltshire, 
though  greatly  valued  by  the  butchers,  was  one  of  the  most 
difficult  to  be  fattened  of  the  larger  Sheep  of  England. 
There  cannot  exist  a  doubt  of  the  great  benefit  which  accrues 
to  individuals  and  the  country,  by  the  substitution  of  the 
Southdown s  for  this  coarse  uncultivated  race.  It  may  be 
asked,  Could  not  the  Wiltshire  Sheep  have  been  improved, 
the  faults  of  their  form  corrected,  their  size  preserved,  and 
the  fineness  of  their  fleece  maintained  ?  Beyond  a  question 
all  these  purposes  could  have  been  effected  by  the  care  of 
breeders,  directed  for  a  sufficient  period  to  the  improvement 
of  the  animal.  But  these  are  labours  which  would  have  re- 
quired a  generation  at  least ;  and  the  interest  of  breeders 
was  better  served  by  taking  that  which  was  formed  to  their 
hands,  than  by  waiting  the  slow  improvements  of  a  race  so 
radically  defective.* 

*  In  my  large  Work,  a  representation  is  given  of  the  ancient   Wiltshire 
Breed  unmixed  with  any  other  blood,  affording  perhaps  the  last  record  that 

122  THE  SHEEP. 

The  Wiltshire  Breed  may  be  regarded  as  the  type  of  some 
others  which  inhabited  a  portion  of  the  midland  chalk  coun- 
ties of  England  until  a  recent  period.  The  Old  Hampshire 
Sheep  may  be  referred  to  this  group.  They  were  horned, 
had  the  faces  and  legs  white,  though  in  some  cases  speckled, 
long  limbs,  and  lank  bodies.  This  race  has  been  supplanted 
by  the  South  Down,  or  so  crossed  with  it,  as  to  have  lost  its 
original  characters.  The  ancient  Sheep  of  the  adjoining 
county  of  Berks  were  of  two  kinds.  One  had  horns,  and 
the  other  was  destitute  of  horns.  Both  were  coarse  slowly- 
fattening  animals,  tall  and  muscular,  with  an  .arched  chaf- 
fron.  Their  wool  was  short,  and  fitted  for  felting.  These 
breeds  have  been  universally  crossed  with  the  South  Down, 
and  may  be  said  to  be  nearly  extinct  in  the  pure  state.  Be- 
sides, few  Sheep  are  now  reared  in  the  county  of  Berks,  the 
farmers  of  which  derive  their  Sheep  for  fattening  from  other 


A  breed  of  Sheep  has,  from  time  immemorial,  been  na- 
turalized in  the  county  of  Dorset,  which  formerly  extended 
over  a  large  tract  of  country.  These  Sheep  possess  small 
horns,  common  to  the  male  and  female.  They  have  white 
legs  and  faces  :  their  wool  is  fine,  but  only  applied  to  the 
making  of  second  or  livery  cloths,  and  it  weighs  about  four 
pounds  the  fleece.  Their  limbs  are  somewhat  long,  but 
without  coarseness  ;  their  shoulders  are  low,  and  the  loins 
broad  and  deep  ;  their  lips  and  nostrils  are  black,  though 
with  a  frequent  tendency  to  assume  a  fleshy  colour.  The 

will  be  presented  to  the  public  of  a  breed  once  so  esteemed  and  celebrated. 
The  individuals  represented  form  part  of  a  flock  on  an  estate  in  the  county  of 
Wilts,  bequeathed  and  held  on  the  singular  condition,  that  the  proprietor 
should  maintain  a  flock  of  the  pure  old  Wiltshire  Sheep.  The  former  owner 
adopted  this  expedient  for  perpetuating  the  existence  of  his  favourite  breed. 


wethers  fatten  at  three  years  old  to  about  eighteen  pounds 
the  quarter.  They  are  a  hardy  race  of  Sheep,  docile,  suited 
to  the  practice  of  folding,  and  capable  of  subsisting  on 
scanty  pastures.  Their  mutton  is  very  good,  but  not  equal 
in  juiciness  and  flavour  to  that  of  the  mountain  breeds. 

The  property  of  the  Dorsets  which  remarkably  distin- 
guishes them,  is  the  fecundity  of  the  females,  and  their 
readiness  to  receive  the  male  at  an  early  season.  They 
have  been  known,  like  the  Sheep  of  some  warmer  countries, 
to  produce  twice  in  the  year.  This,  however,  is  rare  ;  but 
it  is  common  for  the  females  to  become  impregnated  while 
they  are  nursing  their  young.  They  will  receive  the  male 
so  early  as  the  months  of  April  or  May.  The  common 
period  of  admitting  him  is  in  the  early  part  of  June,  so  that 
the  lambs  shall  be  born  in  October,  and  be  ready  for  use  by 
Christmas.  This  has  given  rise  to  the  practice  of  rearing 
the  lambs  in  houses,  until  they  are  ready  for  the  market. 
The  system  has  long  been  regularly  pursued,  especially  with- 
in reach  of  London,  where  a  great  demand  exists  for  this 
kind  of  luxury.  The  rams  employed  to  cover  the  ewes  for 
these  early  lambs  are  not  usually  the  Dorsets,  but  the  Lei- 
cesters  or  Southdowns,  and  chiefly  the  Southdowns.  The 
crosses  are  excellent,  and  no  better  nurses  can  be  found  than 
the  Dorset  mothers. 

The  form  of  the  Dorsets  has  a  great  resemblance  to  that 
of  the  Spanish  Merinos.  The  resemblance,  however,  is 
entirely  in  figure,  for  the  properties  of  the  two  races  are 
very  different.  While  the  females  of  the  Merino  race  are 
bad  nurses,  the  Dorsets  are  the  most  productive  of  milk  of 
any  of  our  races  of  Sheep.  In  the  broad  and  deep  loins  of 
this  race,  we  have  the  same  external  character  which,  in  the 
case  of  the  Cow,  indicates  the  faculty  of  yielding  abundant 
milk.  The  remarkable  fecundity  of  these  Sheep  has  given 
rise  to  the  supposition  that  they  are  derived  from  some 
warmer  country,  where  the  females  bring  forth  twice  in  the 
year  ;  but  the  property  may  be  one  which  is  due  to  situation , 

124  THE    SHEEP. 

The  country  of  the  Dorsets  is  calcareous,  being  partly  on  the 
limits  of  the  chalk  formation,  and  partly  on  the  lias  and  oolite  ; 
and  the  climate  is  mild,  and  the  herbage  is  mixed  with  wild 
thyme  and  other  aromatic  plants.  Formerly,  the  race  was 
greatly  more  diffused  in  England  than  it  now  is.  William 
Ellis,  in  his  Shepherd's  Guide,  published  in  1749,  describes 
the  west  country  Sheep  as  having  "  white  faces,  white  and 
short  legs,  broad  loins,  and  fine  curled  wool."  He  says  they 
are  of  different  sizes,  the  smaller  sort  being  fed  on  commons, 
and  that  they  are  more  tender  of  their  young  than  any  other, 
and  in  an  especial  manner  the  Dorsetshire  variety.  "  Where- 
upon," says  he,  "  those  farmers  that  live  in  Hertfordshire, 
Buckinghamshire,  Bedfordshire,  Middlesex,  Surrey,  and 
Kent,  and  would  be  masters  of  a  fine  kind  of  Sheep,  for 
folding,  fattening,  and  breeding  lambs,  cannot  have  a  better 

Since  the  period  referred  to,  however,  this  race  of  Sheep 
has  been  continually  diminishing  in  numbers.  The  extension 
of  the  improved  Leicesters  and  Southdowns  gradually  cir- 
cumscribed the  limits  of  the  ancient  Dorsets ;  and  in  the 
various  midland  and  eastern  counties  in  which  they  formerly 
abounded,  scattered  flocks  only  are  found,  and  these  rarely 

The  crosses  of  this  breed  with  the  Leicesters  and  South- 
downs  being  superior  to  the  original  stock,  a  powerful  cause 
is  in  operation  to  produce  an  intermixture  of  blood ;  and 
were  it  not  for  the  demand  which  exists  in  the  great  towns, 
and  especially  in  London,  for  early  lambs,  the  Dorsets  might 
be  expected,  like  so  many  of  the  older  breeds  of  the  country, 
to  become  extinct.  Should  this  take  place,  we  know  of  no 
means  of  supplying  its  place,  for  no  other  breed  of  these 
Islands  possesses  the  properties  of  early  breeding  and  fecun- 
dity in  the  same  degree.  While,  therefore,  the  rearing  of 
early  lambs  continues  to  be  profitable,  care  should  be  used 
in  preserving  the  purity  of  this  ancient  race,  and  in  calling 
forth,  by  selection  of  the  male  and  female  parents,  those 


properties  which  it  possesses  in  so  eminent  a  degree.  The 
purest  of  the  race  are  now  to  be  found  in  a  district  round 

The  Dorset  Breed  extends  to  the  rich  and  beautiful  county 
of  Somerset,  where  it  is  now  reared  in  greater  numbers  than 
in  Dorsetshire  itself.  It  here  exhibits,  however,  some  differ- 
ence of  character.  It  is  distinguished  from  the  true  Dorset 
by  the  colour  of  the  nose,  which  is  of  a  fleshy  or  pink  colour, 
resembling  that  of  the  Merino.  The  Pink-nosed  Somerset 
is  larger  than  the  Black -nosed  Dorset,  and  of  lanker  form. 
The  wool  is  somewhat  longer,  but  nearly  of  the  same  fine- 
ness. The  wethers,  when  fattened,  attain  to  greater  weight, 
and  the  lambs  are  larger.  The  Dorsets,  however,  are  consi- 
dered as  exhibiting  the  characters  proper  to  the  females  in 
greater  perfection.  In  the  case  of  the  Somersets,  the  usual 
period  of  admitting  the  males  to  the  females  is  about  the 
10th  of  May,  so  that  the  ewes  may  lamb  in  September  or 
early  in  October. 

In  both  of  these  counties,  especially  in  Dorsetshire,  the 
Southdowns  have  been  making  continual  progress,  being 
either  substituted  for  the  native  races,  or  employed  to  cross 
them.  They  are  better  suited  than  the  Leicesters  to  mingle 
with  the  Dorset  race,  producing  well-formed  animals,  and  in- 
creasing the  value  of  the  fleece. 

The  numerous  varieties  of  the  same  group  which  inhabited 
the  older  commons  are  now  nearly  extinct,  although  traces 
of  the  characteristic  form  may  still  be  observed  in  certain 
places.  One  variety,  however,  is  still  to  be  found  in  a  state 
of  purity.  It  inhabits  the  Isle  of  Portland,  where  it  has  been 
kept  unmixed  for  an  unknown  period.  These  little  Sheep 
have  horns  in  the  male  and  female.  They  are  gentle,  and  of 
good  form.  They  have  a  tinge  of  dun  on  the  face  and  legs. 
Their  wool,  like  that  of  the  Dorsets,  is  of  medium  fineness, 
weighing  about  two  pounds  the  fleece.  They  are  washed, 
before  being  shorn,  in  the  salt  pools  left  on  the  shores  by  the 
returning  tide.  Their  mutton  is  exceedingly  delicate,  and 

126  THE  SHEEP. 

the  wethers,  when  fat,  at  two  years  and  four  months  old, 
weigh  from  ten  to  twelve  pounds  the  quarter. 

The  climate  of  the  Isle  of  Portland  is  moist,  and  the  natural 
herbage  is  largely  mixed  with  wild  thyme.  The  number  of 
Sheep  in  the  Island  amounts  to  about  4000.  Some  years  ago 
a  flock  of  them  was  taken  to  the  Derby  hills  by  Sir  George 
Crewe,  M.  P.,  and  it  is  said  that  they  supported  well  this 
change  of  climate  and  situation.  No  purpose,  however,  of 
economical  utility  can  be  served  by  carrying  this  curious 
breed  beyond  the  narrow  limits  where  it  has  acquired  the 
characters  which  are  proper  to  it. 


From  early  times,  Spain  has  been  noted  for  the  production 
of  numerous  flocks  of  Sheep,  and  of  wool  adapted  to  the 
fabrication  of  the  finer  cloths  and  tissues.  This  country 
presents  great  diversity  of  surface  and  natural  productions. 
Towards  the  south  and  east  it  is  more  African  in  its  charac- 
ter than  any  other  part  of  Europe.  The  interior  consists  of 
elevated  plains,  bounded  and  traversed  by  long  ranges  of 
mountains,  the  summits  of  which  sometimes  rise  almost  to 
the  region  of  perpetual  congelation.  Descending  from  these 
chains  of  mountains  are  several  noble  rivers,  which  carry 
their  waters  to  the  Mediterranean  and  Atlantic  through 
plains  and  valleys  of  surpassing  richness  and  beauty.  The 
climate  varies  greatly  with  the  altitude,  but  the  air  is  every 
where  pure  and  dry.  The  vegetable  productions  are  those 
of  the  warmer  as  well  as  of  the  colder  parts  of  the  northern 
temperate  zone.  The  orange,  the  citron,  the  olive,  and  the 
vine,  are  common  productions  of  the  lower  plains  ;  the  rocky 
mountains  are  covered  with  cisti,  arborescent  heaths,  and 
many  beautiful  and  fragrant  herbs ;  and,  in  the  cultivated 
country,  are  mingled  the  plants  of  the  warmer  with  those  of 
the  temperate  regions, — the  maize,  the  sugar-cane,  the  rice, 


and  the  sorghi,  with  wheat  and  other  cerealia.  Numerous 
varieties  of  Sheep  occupy  the  plains  and  mountainous  coun- 
try. Some  produce  a  long  wool,  deficient  in  the  property  of 
felting,  but  fitted  for  the  manufacture  of  the  looser  fabrics, 
as  carpets  and  flannels,  as  well  as  serges  and  the  lightei 
tissues.  These  long-woolled  Sheep  are  found  in  the  lower 
and  more  cultivated  countries.  The  short-woolled  Sheep  in- 
habit, for  the  most  part,  the  sandy  downs,  and  the  mountains 
and  elevated  plains  of  the  interior,  where  a  finer  herbage 
prevails.  They  are  altogether  distinct  from  the  larger  Sheep 
of  the  richer  plains,  although  both  have  been  largely  mingled 
in  blood  together,  and  have  produced  a  mixed  progeny,  which 
is  very  numerous. 

This  fine  country,  so  rich  and  beautiful,  has  rarely  been 
permitted  to  avail  itself  of  its  unrivalled  resources.  With  a 
few  happy  intervals,  the  history  of  Spain  is  one  of  intestine 
troubles,  of  foreign  wars,  of  civil  intolerance,  and  religious 
bigotry.  Its  former  inhabitants,  apparently  of  the  same 
great  family  of  mankind  which  peopled  Gaul  and  other  coun- 
tries of  Western  Europe,  were  early  visited,  for  the  purposes 
of  commerce,  by  Phoenician  voyagers,  and  subsequently  by 
the  Samians  and  other  Greeks,  who  were  permitted  to  esta- 
blish towns  on  the  coasts  of  the  Mediterranean.  These 
strangers  at  first  contented  themselves  with  their  little  mari- 
time colonies,  and  with  the  means  of  intercourse  which  these 
afforded  with  the  native  inhabitants  ;  but  at  length  the  Phoe- 
nicians, with  that  desire  of  colonization  which  distinguished 
them,  founded  the  city  of  Gades,  now  Cadiz,  beyond  the 
Gaditanian  Strait.  The  natives,  alarmed  at  this  encroach- 
ment, prepared  to  attack  the  intruders  ;  when  the  latter,  in 
an  evil  hour,  called  to  their  aid  the  Carthaginians,  then  the 
most  powerful  maritime  people  of  the  Mediterranean.  Dis- 
regarding its  allies,  this  ambitious  state  began,  on  its  own 
account,  a  system  of  cruel  conquest,  penetrating  through  the 
very  heart  of  the  country  to  the  Ebro,  establishing  fortresses 
and  founding  cities,  amongst  which  was  the  noble  city  of 

128  THE    SHEEP. 

New  Carthage,  which  to  this  hour  retains  the  name  of  Car- 
tagena. In  the  year  216  B.  c.,  the  fatal  siege  of  the  city  of 
Saguntum,  situated  in  the  modern  kingdom  of  Valencia,  gave 
rise  to  the  memorable  wars  between  Carthage  and  Rome, 
which  ended  in  the  destruction  of  the  Carthaginian  Common- 
wealth, and  the  supremacy  of  its  relentless  rival.  In  the 
meanwhile,  the  Romans  pursued  the  conquest  of  the  devoted 
country  to  which  they  had  been  called  as  protectors.  But 
nearly  200  years  elapsed  before  they  were  able  io  bring  it 
under  subjection.  At  length  all  Spain  became  a  peaceful 
province  of  Rome,  receiving  in  exchange  for  her  independ- 
ence a  longer  exemption  from  the  troubles  of  war,  and  a 
greater  degree  of  public  prosperity,  than  she  has  ever  again 
been  permitted  to  enjoy.  Under  the  wise  administration  of 
Roman  laws,  Spain  soon  became  the  richest,  most  indus- 
trious, and  most  powerful,  of  all  the  dependent  nations  of 
the  empire.  It  was  during  the  period  of  Roman  dominion, 
continued  for  more  than  450  years,  that  this  country  became 
distinguished  for  her  commerce,  her  agriculture,  and  her 
other  arts.  Some  of  her  cities  were  reckoned  amongst  the 
most  opulent  of  the  ancient  world ;  and  aqueducts,  bridges, 
and  ways  of  communication,  now  in  ruins,  attest  a  degree  of 
civilization  and  refinement  to  which,  except  under  the  partial 
dominion  of  the  Caliphs,  she  never  again  reached. 

The  Roman  writers,  in  their  casual  notices  of  the  produc- 
tions of  this  important  province,  speak  of  its  wool  as  being 
greatly  esteemed  for  its  fineness.  It  is  described  as  being 
black.  Pliny  the  younger  informs  us  that  the  finest  wool,  of 
a  black  colour,  was  brought  from  Turditania ;  and  Strabo, 
who  wrote  in  the  reign  of  Tiberius  Caesar,  says,  that  wool, 
suited  for  the  finer  garments  of  the  Romans,  was  brought 
from  the  same  country.  Pliny,  while  he  mentions  the  fine 
wool  of  Turditania,  states,  that  yet  superior  to  it  was  the  red 
wool  of  Boetica,  that  is,  of  the  countries  of  the  Boetis,  now 
the  Guadalquiver,  forming  the  modern  Andalusia,  and  part 
of  Estremadura.  The  red  wool  of  Boetica  still  remains,  and 


is  probably  the  same  as  that  distinguished  by  the  ancients 
unddfr  the  name  Milesian,  brought  from  Asia.  It  is  stated 
by  Martialis,  himself  a  native  of  Spain,  to  be  of  the  colour  of 
wine.  It  is  long  and  very  soft,  differing  entirely  from  the 
wool  of  Spain>  now  so  celebrated,  termed  Merino. 

The  Roman  power  in  Spain  terminated  in  the  year  of  our 
Lord  456,  and  was  supplanted  by  that  of  the  Northern  Bar- 
barians. In  the  year  409,  the  Vandals,  Suevi,  and  Allani, 
having  forced  the  passes  of  the  Pyrenees,  carried  rapine  and 
desolation  throughout  the  tranquil  and  happy  land.  The 
Roman  legions,  few  in  number,  and  fallen  off  in  discipline, 
and  the  inhabitants  become  unwarlike  from  disuse  of  arms, 
were  unable  to  make  head  against  these  cruel  enemies,  who 
did  not,  however,  long  enjoy  their  bloody  triumphs.  A  nation 
of  Goths,  who  had  become  the  allies  of  the  sinking  empire, 
drew  their  swords  for  the  recovery  of  Spain,  and,  after  a 
series  of  murderous  conflicts,  succeeded  in  restoring  it  nomi- 
nally to  its  ancient  masters.  The  Goths  were  worsted  in 
their  turn  ;  but  at  length  their  king  Theodoric,  by  one  deci- 
sive battle,  established  a  Gothic  monarchy  in  Spain,  an  event 
which  introduced  the  feudal  system  in  its  rigour,  shook  the 
whole  framework  of  society,  and  has  influenced  the  fortunes, 
character,  and  institutions,  of  the  Spanish  people  up  to  the 
times  in  which  we  live.  The  term  Hidalgo,  or  son  of  a  Goth, 
became  a  title  of  distinction,  and  those  privileged  classes 
were  established  which  have  been  the  bane  of  the  countrv 


ever  since.  During  the  long  dominion  of  these  Gothic  princes, 
upwards  of  250  years,  civil  and  religious  wars  desolated  the 
country ;  and  nothing  can  be  recorded/avourable  to  industry 
and  the  arts  except  that,  towards  the  termination  of  this  pe- 
riod, the  enslaved  country  began  again  to  enjoy  something 
like  repose. 

The  Gothic  dominion  was  doomed  in  its  turn  to  a  terrible 
overthrow.  In  the  year  712,  the  Arabs,  then  termed  Sara- 
cens, having  overrun  the  whole  of  Mauritania  except  the 
little  fortress  of  Ceuta,  landed  a  tumultuary  army  on  the 


130  THE  SHEEP. 

shores  of  Andalusia,  and  in  one  great  battle,  fought  at  Xeres, 
decided  the  fate  of  Spain.  They  defeated  the  Christian  army 
of  a  hundred  thousand  men,  and,  pursuing  their  victory,  re- 
duced, in  an  incredibly  short  space  of  time,  nearly  all  Spain 
to  the  dominion  of  the  Caliphs,  leaving  the  vanquished  in 
possession  of  their  laws  and  religion,  under  payment  of  the 
tribute  prescribed  by  the  stern  tenets  of  the  Koran.  A 
remnant  of  the  Goths,  under  their  leader  Pelagius,  retired  to 
the  mountains  of  the  Asturias,  whence  they  were  afterwards 
able  to  roll  back  the  tide  of  conquest  on  the  invaders  of  their 

The  Moors,  as  the  mixed  races  of  Arabian  and  African 
conquerors  were  termed  by  the  Spaniards,  brought  with  them 
the  arts  of  the  East  to  their  new  country,  and  cultivated 
them  with  success  during  their  long  dominion.  Although 
their  possessions  were  at  length  divided  into  separate  states, 
often  at  war  with  one  another,  and  almost  always  with  the 
Christians  in  contact  with  them,  they  brought  the  subject 
country  to  a  high  degree  of  prosperity  and  civilization.  No 
people  ever  underwent  so  sudden  a  change  of  character  and 
habits  as  the  wild  and  fiery  Arabs  in  the  delicious  country 
which  they  had  rendered  their  own.  They  cultivated  agri- 
culture, and  brought  the  art  of  irrigation  especially,  to  great 
perfection.  They  were  skilled  in  the  useful  mechanical  arts, 
and  established  looms,  forges,  glass-houses,  dye-works,  and 
manufactures  of  silk,  cotton,  paper,  leather,  and  the  like,  in 
all  their  principal  cities.  They  even  cultivated  letters  and 
the  fine  arts,  when  all  the  rest  of  Europe  was  sunk  in  dark- 
ness. Their  aqueducts,  bridges,  mosques,  and  other  edifices, 
remain  to  this  hour  the  monuments  of  a  taste,  industry,  and 
skill,  which  their  successors  have  never  been  able  to  equal. 
But  that  of  all  their  arts  which  the  most  interests  us  with 
relation  to  our  present  subject,  is  their  woollen  manufacture. 
They  fabricated  cloths  and  carpets,  with  serges,  and  the  other 
lighter  tissues  suited  to  the  warmer  countries.  In  the  city 
of  Seville  alone  were  many  thousand  looms  constantly  at 


work,  and  others  of  their  cities  were  scarcely  less  distinguished 
for  the  same  class  of  manufactures.  The  woollen  tissues  of 
Spain  were  then  the  finest  in  the  world,  and  not  only  sup- 
plied the  demands  of  luxury  at  home,  but  were  carried  to 
other  parts  of  Europe,  to  Africa,  and  all  the  countries  of  the 

But  the  splendid  dominion  of  the  Moors  in  Spain  had  early 
begun  to  be  circumscribed  by  warlike  enemies,  and  at  length, 
in  the  course  of  ages,  passed  away.  The  Christians,  under 
their  Gothic  leaders,  emerging  from  their  northern  fast- 
nesses, wrested  back,  by  slow  degrees,  kingdom  after  king- 
dom ;  and,  after  the  lapse  of  780  years  of  heroic  struggles, 
unexampled  in  the  history  of  mankind,  Granada  alone  re- 
mained to  the  Moslem  conquerors  of  all  their  rich  dominions. 
This,  too,  fell  after  a  gallant  defence  ;  the  inhabitants  being 
left,  by  treaty,  in  possession  of  their  property  and  the  exercise 
of  their  religion.  The  fall  of  Granada  took  place  in  1492,  by 
which  time  all  the  separate  kingdoms  of  Spain  had  beSn 
united,  by  conquest  or  inheritance,  in  the  persons  of  Ferdi- 
nand and  Isabella,  so  that  Spain  once  more  became  a  king- 
dom ;  and  the  discovery  of  the  New  World,  with  its  bound- 
less treasures,  seemed  to  render  it  at  once  the  most  powerful 
in  Europe. 

But  the  seeds  of  decay  had  been  sown  along  with  the  Chris- 
tian triumphs.  As  one  kingdom  after  another  was  wrested 
from  the  Moors,  they  were  partitioned  among  the  great  seig- 
niors, and  the  system  of  feudal  vassalage  was  established  in 
its  worst  form.  The  powers  conferred  on  these  warlike  feuda- 
tories were  alike  in  opposition  to  the  rights  of  the  people,  and 
the  prerogatives  of  the  executive  power.  The  laws  were  dis- 
regarded by  subjects  so  powerful,  and  tumults  and  conflicting 
jurisdictions  destroyed  the  peace  of  the  country.  Religious 
intolerance,  and  the  usurpations  of  priestly  authority,  aggra- 
vated the  civil  disorders ;  and  triumphs,  which  should  have 
been  hailed  as  the  harbingers  of  peace,  did  nothing  to  pro- 
mote the  industry  and  happiness  of  the  country.  Ferdinand 

132  THE  SHEEP. 

and  Isabella,  wise  and  sagacious  as  their  general  administra- 
tion was,  were  embued  with  all  the  bigotry  of  the  age  in 
which  they  lived.  They  established  the  Inquisition,  one  of 
the  most  savage  institutions  which  has  arisen  since  the  dark 
ages.  This  junta  of  sanguinary  priests  directed  their  ven- 
geance against  the  Jews,  in  whose  hands  was  the  principal 
part  of  the  internal  traffic  of  the  country.  It  has  been  com- 
puted, that,  within  four  years  after  the  establishment  of  that 
tribunal,  six  thousand  of  these  unfortunate  persons  were  pub- 
licly burned,  and  that  a  hundred  thousand  suffered  every 
cruelty  short  of  death.  But  it  was  against  the  Moors,  who, 
in  the  days  of  their  prosperity,  had  shewn  so  noble  a  for- 
bearance, that  the  rage  of  these  merciless  ruffians  was  espe- 
cially directed.  No  sooner  had  Granada  fallen,  than  this 
unhappy  race  was  doomed  to  all  the  cruelty  and  indignity 
which  savage  minds  could  devise ;  and  by  degrees  all  the  be- 
nefits of  their  industry  were  lost  to  the  country  which  they 
had  enriched.  Such  was  the  state  of  Spain  when  Charles  V. 
succeeded  to  the  fairest  dominions  that  ever  European  prince 
had  possessed.  The  history  of  his  ambitious  life  is  known 
to  all  the  world.  With  the  glory  of  his  magnificent  reign, 
the  decay  of  Spanish  power  proceeded  with  silent  steps.  At 
the  age  of  fifty-six,  amidst  the  germs  of  future  wars,  he  re- 
signed his  crown  to  his  son  Philip,  who,  though  not  destitute 
of  talents,  never  arrived  at  the  reputation  of  his  father.  This 
cruel  Prince  was  defeated  in  almost  all  his  schemes  of  selfish 
ambition ;  and  the  treasures  of  America,  so  far  from  adding 
to  the  wealth  of  his  country,  destroyed  its  prosperity,  by 
withdrawing  the  attention  of  the  inhabitants  from  those  arts 
which  could  give  it  true  riches.  The  persecution  of  the 
Moors  was  continued  by  him  with  increasing  atrocity.  The 
fires  of  the  Holy  Inquisition  continued  to  burn  by  his  com- 
mand. The  resistance  which  this  provoked  in  the  victims, 
was  the  signal  for  further  butcheries ;  and,  in  the  reign  of 
his  successor  Philip  III.,  the  ruin  of  the  industry  of  the 
country  wTas  completed  by  the  expulsion  of  the  remnant  of  the 


devoted  race.  Those  that  survived  had  conformed  to  the 
observances  of  the  Christian  faith  ;  but  they  were  now  to  be 
driven  away  like  felons  from  the  land.  The  pretence  was, 
that,  though  Christians  in  appearance,  they  were  Mahomme- 
dans  in  their  hearts.  Thirty  days  were  allowed  these  vic- 
tims, above  six  hundred  thousand  in  number,  to  prepare  for 
their  departure ;  after  which  it  was  death  for  any  one  to  re- 
main. Spain  thus  lost,  by  acts  of  imbecility  and  tyranny, 
the  most  industrious  of  her  population.  The  effects  of  this 
loss  she  never  recovered ;  but,  exhausted  by  wars,  emigra- 
tion, and  imposts,  sank  into  a  state  of  languor  and  impo- 
tence, which  rendered  fruitless  the  blessings  that  Nature  had 
left  her.  The  flocks  of  her  mountains  remained,  but  the  in- 
dustry that  gave  them  value  was  taken  away.  In  place  of 
the  beautiful  fabrics  which  the  arts  of  her  people  produced, 
it  is  the  raw  produce  only  which  is  now  exported,  and  that  in 
diminishing  quantity  from  year  to  year. 

The  Spanish  Sheep,  it  has  been  said,  consist  of  two  general 
classes,  comprehending'  (1.)  those  which  produce  long  wool, 
and  which  are  generally  the  inhabitants  of  the  more  culti- 
vated countries  ;  and  (2.)  those  which  produce  short  and 
felting  wool,  and  which  are  chiefly  found  on  the  mountains, 
elevated  plains,  and  downs.  Of  the  latter  varieties  of  Sheep, 
greatly  the  most  numerous  and  valuable  are  termed  Merino, 
a  word  of  doubtful  origin,  but  derived  from  the  adjective 
Merino,  applied  by  the  Spaniards  to  sheep  moving  from  pas  - 
ture  to  pasture  ;  whence,  too,  the  word  Merino,  signifying  a 
judge  of  the  sheep-walks,  and  Merinadad,  denoting  the  juris- 
diction of  the  judge.  Numerous  conjectures  have  been  formed 
regarding  the  origin  of  this  race  of  Sheep,  so  distinct  from 
any  other  indigenous  to  Europe,  It  cannot,  however,  now 
be  known  from  what  beginning,  or  by  what  progressive  steps, 
this  remarkable  race  has  acquired  its  distinctive  properties. 
Spain  appears  to  have  been  distinguished,  in  every  known 
age,  for  the  fineness  of  the  wool  of  its  Sheep,  which  we  mav 
reasonably  believe  to  be  due  to  the  climate,  herbage,  and 

134  THE  SHEEP. 

other  physical  circumstances  of  the  country  in  which  the  ani- 
mals are  naturalized.     It  is,  however,  a  reasonable  supposi- 
tion, that  the  Merino  race,  which  produces  not  only  a  fine, 
but  a  remarkably  oily  and  felting  wool,  has  been  formed  by 
some  mixture  of  other  races  with  the  Sheep  indigenous  to 
the  country.     It  has  been  supposed  by  some  that  it  is  derived 
from  the  Oves  Molles,  or  fine-woolled  Sheep  of  ancient  Italy  ; 
but  the  evidence  upon  which  this  opinion  rests  cannot  be  re- 
garded as  satisfactory.     Columella,  a  native  of  the  South  of 
Spain,  informs  us,  that  his  uncle,  of  the  same  name,  intro- 
duced some  of  the  fine-woolled  Sheep  of  Italy  into  his  Spanish 
farm ;  but  he  likewise  informs  us,  that  he   procured  some 
African  rams,  which  had  been  brought  to  be  exhibited  at  the 
public  shows  at  Rome.     How  far  these  crosses  affected  the 
native  breeds  cannot  be  known  ;  but  the  facts  may  lead,  per- 
haps, to  the  conclusion,  that  the  wool  of  Spain,  although  dis- 
tinguished for  its  fineness,  had  not  attained  the  perfection  at 
which  it  afterwards  arrived.     There  is  great  probability  that 
the  Sheep  of  Northern  Africa  were  mingled  in  blood  with 
those  of  Spain  during  the  long  period  of  Moorish  dominion. 
We  have  no  accounts,  indeed,  of  the  importation  of  African 
Sheep  by  the  Moors  ;  but  if  Sheep  existed  in  Africa  capable 
of  yielding  wool  suited  to  the  manufacture  of  the  finer  cloths 
and  tissues,  it  is  certain  the  Moors  would  obtain  them  ;  and 
we  learn  from  the  chronicles  of  the  Spanish  writers,  that  one 
at  least  of  their  own  princes  resorted  to  Africa  for  Sheep  ; 
and  the  illustrious  Cardinal   Ximenes,  who  governed  the 
country  during  the  minority  of  Charles  V.,  is  distinctly  re- 
ported to  have  brought  Sheep  from  Africa  to  improve  the 
Spanish  wool.     It  has  been  said,  indeed,  that  we  know  of  no 
race  of  African  Sheep  that  produces  wool  resembling  the 
Merino.     Even  if  this  were  so,  it  would  not  invalidate  the 
reasonable   conclusions  that  may  be  drawn.     The  wool  of 
the  Sheep  of  Africa,  like  that  of  other  warm  countries,  is 
mixed  with  hairs  ;  but  underneath  these  hairs  is  a  short  and 
downy  fleece,  and  it  is  easy  to  suppose  that,  on  such  Sheep 

THE  MERINO  BRilEI).  135 

being  transported  to  a  colder  country,  the  woolly  portion 
would  be  more  developed,  so  as  to  afford  a  covering  to  the 
animal ;  but,  in  truth,  it  is  known,  that  exceedingly  fine  wool 
is  found  in  the  north  of  Africa,  though  the  races  of  Sheep 
that  produce  it  have  not  been  discriminated  by  travellers, 
and  that  there  is  a  remarkable  tendency  in  the  Sheep  of 
Africa  to  produce  that  copious  oily  secretion  of  the  skin  which 
distinguishes  the  Merino  race  from  any  other  in  Europe. 
The  fine  woollen  fabrics  of  the  Barbary  States  are  known 
over  all  the  countries  of  the  Levant,  and  are  one  of  the  few 
manufactured  productions  which  these  long- desolated  coun- 
tries export.  It  has  been  the  opinion  of  many,  that  the 
Merino  Sheep  of  Spain  have  been  derived  from  England. 
Stow,  in  his  Chronicles,  informs  that  "  this  yere"  (namely, 
1464),  "  King  Edward  IV.  gave  a  license  to  pass  over  cer- 
tain Cotteswolde  Sheep  into  Spain ;"  and  Baker  says, 
"  King  Edward  IV.  enters  into  a  league  with  John  King  of 
Arragon,  to  whom  he  sent  over  a  score  of  Costal  ewes  and 
four  rams,  a  small  present  in  show,  but  great  in  the  event, 
for  it  proved  of  more  benefit  to  Spain,  and  more  detrimental 
to  England,  than  could  at  first  have  been  imagined."  From 
this  slender  incident  it  were  idle  to  infer  that  the  modern 
Merino  owes  its  origin  to  the  Sheep  of  England,  though  cer- 
tainly the  resemblance  of  the  Dorset  breed  of  England,  and 
particularly  of  the  variety  termed  the  Pink-nosed  Somerset, 
would  seem  to  be  sufficiently  striking  to  give  some  counte- 
nance to  the  supposition.  But  the  successor  of  King  John 
of  Arragon  was  Ferdinand,  who  married  Isabella  of  Castile, 
and  it  was  the  minister  of  these  Sovereigns  who  resorted  to 
Africa  for  Sheep  to  improve  the  Spanish  wool.  Our  early 
writers,  who  assign  an  English  derivation  to  the  fine-woolled 
Sheep  of  Spain,  were  probably  ignorant  that  already  Spain 
was  in  possession  of  the  best  wool,  and  manufactured  the 
finest  woollen  fabrics,  in  Europe.  Upon  the  whole,  although 
authentic  documents  on  the  subject  are  wanting,  there  is  a 
presumption  that  the  Sheep  of  Africa  were  employed  to  per- 

136  THE  SHEEP. 

feet  the  Sheep  of  Spain  with  respect  to  the  production  of 
wool.  The  Merinos  exhibit  certain  characters,  which  seem 
to  shew  them  to  have  been  derived  from  some  country  warmer 
than  that  in  which  they  were  naturalized,  and  it  was  during 
the  dominion  of  the  African  possessors  of  the  country,  that 
the  wool  of  Spain  arrived  at  its  greatest  excellence. 

The  Spanish  Merino  Sheep  are  of  small  size.  The  skin  is 
of  a  reddish  fleshy  colour,  and  the  wool  is  white,  although 
black  or  dun  sometimes  appears  on  the  legs,  faces,  and  ears. 
The  forehead  is  covered  with  a  tuft  of  coarse  wool,  and  coarse 
wool  likewise  appears  on  the  cheeks.  The  males  have  large 
spiral  horns  ;  but  the  females  are  usually  destitute  of  horns. 
Both  sexes  have  a  certain  looseness  of  skin  under  the  throat, 
which  is  valued  by  the  Spanish  shepherds  as  indicative  of  a 
productive  fleece.  The  legs  are  long,  the  sides  are  flat,  and 
the  chest  is  narrow.  The  fleece  is  altogether  peculiar ;  it  is 
close,  short,  and  unctuous,  weighing,  from  these  causes,  more  in 
proportion  to  its  bulk  than  the  fleece  of  any  other  known  race 
of  Sheep.  From  its  closeness,  it  feels  hard  when  compressed, 
but,  on  examination,  the  filaments  are  seen  to  be  of  extreme 
tenuity,  and  no  wool  has  been  found  comparable  to  it  for  the 
property  of  felting.  It  is  not  annually  renewed,  but  will  con- 
tinue to  grow  for  several  years. 

The  Spanish  Merino  Sheep,  when  we  regard  them  as  ani- 
mals to  be  fattened  for  human  food,  are  of  an  inferior  class. 
Their  flesh  is  of  indifferent  quality,  and  they  are  of  tender 
constitutions.  The  females  are  the  worst  nurses  of  any  race 
of  Sheep  which  inhabit  Europe.  So  great  is  their  defect  in 
this  respect,  that  in  Spain  half  the  lambs  are  killed  in  order 
that  the  ewes  may  be  enabled  to  suckle  the  remainder,  it 
being  calculated  by  the  Spanish  shepherds,  that  the  milk  of 
two  ewes  is  required  to  bring  up  one  lamb  in  a  proper  man- 
ner. Abortions  are  frequent,  parturition  is  difficult,  and  the 
ewes  are  more  apt  to  desert  their  offspring  than  any  other 
Sheep  which  are  known  to  us.  In  these  respects  the  Me- 
rinos resemble  the  ancient  Oves  Molles  of  Italy,  which  were 


remarkable  for  the  delicacy  of  their  constitution,  their  vora- 
city, unthriftiness,  and  inferior  power  of  secreting  milk.  The 
same  causes,  it  would  appear,  have  produced  the  same  effects. 
Attention  having  been  mainly  directed  in  both  cases  to  the 
production  of  wool,  the  other  properties  were  disregarded,  of 
hardiness  and  the  power  of  yielding  fat  and  milk. 

The  Spanish  Merinos,  although  retaining  a  certain  degree 
of  wildness,  are  yet  very  docile  in  their  tempers.  No  Sheep 
place  themselves  more  unreservedly  under  the  guidance  of 
the  shepherds  ;  and,  although  late  in  arriving  at  maturity, 
and  difficult  to  be  fattened,  they  are  readily  satisfied  with 
dry  and  innutritious  pastures.  When  put  amongst  other 
Sheep,  they  keep  together,  generally  on  the  higher  grounds. 
At  night  they  form  themselves  into  a  circle,  the  rams  and 
stronger  sheep  being  on  the  outside,  retaining  thus  the  in- 
stincts which  they  had  acquired  in  their  native  habitation. 
They  are  incapable  of  bearing  the  same  extremes  of  cold  and 
wetness  as  the  hardy  Mountain  Sheep  of  Northern  Europe  ; 
and  yet  they  do  not  seem  to  be  peculiarly  affected  by  changes 
of  temperature,  which,  doubtless,  their  dense  fleece  enables 
them  to  resist. 

The  Spaniards,  who  by  degrees  subdued  the  Moorish  king- 
doms, neglected  tillage,  and  attended  chiefly  to  their  flocks 
and  herds  ;  and  then  it  was  that  those  immense  sheep-walks 
seem  to  have  been  formed,  which  cover  so  great  a  part  of  the 
country.  Writers  of  the  middle  ages  speak  of  the  large  flocks 
possessed  by  individuals,  amounting  to  thirty  or  forty  thou- 
sand each.  Whether  it  was  found  that  the  continued  heat 
of  the  southern  parts  of  Spain  was  less  favourable  to  the  fine- 
ness of  the  fleece,  or  whether  convenience  or  necessity  led  to 
a  change  of  pasture  during  the  summer  months,  a  practice 
was  early  established  of  driving  the  flocks  of  sheep  to  the 
cooler  countries  of  the  north  in  summer,  and  back  to  the 
southern  pastures  on  the  approach  of  winter.  These  migra- 
tory flocks  are  by  some  termed  Transhumantes  ;  while  the 

138  THE  SHEEP. 

sheep  that  remain  in  the  same  district  during  the  year  are 
termed  Estantes,  or  stationary. 

The  stationary  Sheep  consist  partly  of  the  larger  sheep  of 
the  lower  country,  partly  of  mixed  races,  and  partly  of  pure 
Merinos,  which  do  not  differ  in  any  respect  from  the  migra- 
tory Sheep  of  that  name,  except  in  the  method  of  treatment. 
The  stationary  Merinos  are  reared  where  the  district  or  farm 
affords  them  sufficient  food  during  the  whole  season.  They 
are  most  numerous  in  the  central  countries,  where  the  pas- 
tures are  less  apt  to  be  scorched  by  the  heats  of  summer,  as 
in  Segovia,  and  the  mountain  ranges  to  the  north  of  Madrid. 

The  migratory  Sheep  have  been  reckoned  to  amount  to  ten 
millions,  which  is  probably  equal  to  half  the  whole  number  of 
the  sheep  of  Spain.  They  may  be  divided  into  two  great 
bodies  ;  those  which  are  to  pass  chiefly  into  the  kingdom  of 
Leon,  and  those  which  are  to  pass  further  to  the  eastward, 
to  Soria,  or  even  beyond  the  Ebro.  These  great  hordes  of 
sheep  break  up  from  their  winter  cantonments  south  of  the 
Guadiana,  about  the  15th  of  April,  and  proceed  slowly  north- 
ward. The  rams  having  been  admitted  to  the  ewes  in  the 
month  of  July,  the  lambs  are  born  in  November.  In  the 
course  of  their  journey  northward,  they  are  shorn  in  large 
buildings  erected  for  that  purpose.  The  western  or  Leonese 
division,  crosses  the  Tagus  at  Almaraz.  The  easterly  or 
Sorian  division,  crosses  the  same  river  further  to  the  east- 
ward at  Talavera,  and  in  its  course  approaches  the  city  of 
Madrid.  Having  reached  their  destination,  they  are  pas- 
tured until  the  end  of  September,  when  they  recommence 
their  journey  southward.  Each  of  these  journeys,  of  several 
hundred  miles  in  length,  occupies  about  six  weeks,  so  that  a 
fourth  part  of  the  year  is  consumed  in  travelling.  The  older 
Sheep,  it  is  said,  when  April  arrives,  know  the  time  of  sett- 
ing off,  and  are  impatient  to  be  gone.  In  the  ten  or  twelve 
latter  days,  increased  vigilance  is  required  on  the  part  of  the 
shepherds,  lest  the  Sheep  should  break  away.  Some  of 


them  do  so,  and  pursue  their  accustomed  route,  often  reach- 
ing their  former  year's  pastures,  where  they  are  found  when 
the  main  body  arrives.  But,  for  the  most  part,  these  strag- 
glers are  carried  off  by  the  wolves,  which  abound  along  the 
course  which  the  migratory  flocks  pursue. 

These  migratory  Sheep  are  divided  into  flocks  of  a  thou- 
sand or  more,  each  under  the  charge  of  its  own  Mayoral  or 
chief  shepherd,  who  has  a  sufficient  number  of  assistants 
under  his  command.  It  is  his  province  to  direct  all  the  de- 
tails of  the  journey.  He  goes  in  advance  of  the  flock ;  and  the 
others  follow  with  their  dogs  to  collect  the  stragglers,  and 
keep  off  the  wolves,  which  prowl  in  the  distance,  migrating 
with  the  flock.  A  few  mules  or  asses  accompany  the  caval- 
cade, carrying  the  simple  necessaries  of  the  shepherds,  and 
the  materials  for  forming  the  nightly  folds.  In  these  folds 
the  Sheep  are  penned  throughout  the  night,  surrounded  by 
the  faithful  Dogs,  which  give  notice  of  the  approach  of  danger. 

"When  the  Sheep  arrive  at  the  Esquileos,  or  shearing- 
houses,  which  is  in  the  early  part  of  their  journey  north- 
ward, a  sufficient  number  of  shearers  are  in  attendance  to 
shear  a  thousand  or  more  in  a  day.  The  Esquileos  consist 
of  two  large  rude  rooms,  with  a  low  narrow  hut  adjoining 
termed  the  sweating-house.  The  Sheep  are  driven  into  one 
of  the  large  rooms,  and  such  of  them  as  are  to  be  shorn  on 
the  following  day  are  forced  into  the  long  narrow  hut  as 
close  as  they  can  be  packed,  where  they  are  kept  all  the 
night.  They  undergo  in  this  state  a  great  perspiration,  the 
effect  of  which  is  to  soften  the  hard  unctuous  matter  which 
has  collected  on  the  fleece.  They  are  then  shorn  without 
any  previous  washing,  and  the  wool  is  left  in  the  Esquileo, 
where  it  is  sorted,  and  made  ready  for  sale.  By  this  ar- 
rangement 1000  Sheep  or  more  are  shorn,  with  the  delay  of 
only  a  single  day. 

The  Shepherds  employed  in  tending  these  Sheep  are  cal- 
culated to  amount  to  50,000,  which,  supposing  there  to  be 
ten  millions  of  Sheep,  is  at  the  rate  of  200  to  each  shepherd. 

140  THE  SHEEP. 

The  number  of  Dogs  is  calculated  at  30,000.  These  shep- 
herds form  a  peculiar  class  of  men,  strongly  attached  to 
their  pursuit,  and  living  in  a  state  of  great  simplicity.  Their 
food  is  chiefly  dark  bread,  oil,  and  garlick.  They  eat  the 
mutton  of  their  Sheep,  when  they  die  or  meet  with  accidents. 
In  travelling  they  sleep  on  the  ground,  wrapping  themselves 
in  their  cloaks ;  and  in  winter  they  construct  rude  huts  to 
afford  shelter.  They  seldom,  it  is  said,  change  their  calling. 
The  whole  of  this  extraordinary  system  is  regulated  by  a 
set  of  laws ;  and  an  especial  tribunal,  termed  the  Mesta, 
exists  for  the  protection  of  the  privileges  of  the  parties  hav- 
ing the  right  of  way  and  pasturage.  These  parties  claim 
the  right  of  pasturage  on  all  the  open  and  common  land  that 
lies  in  their  way,  a  path  of  ninety  paces  wide  through  the 
enclosed  and  cultivated  country,  and  various  rights  and  im- 
munities connected  with  the  pasturage  of  the  flocks.  The 
system  is  opposed  to  the  true  interests  of  Spain.  A  change 
of  pasture  ma^  be  required  for  the  flocks  in  the  drier  coun- 
tries at  certain  seasons,  but  the  periodical  migration  of  so 
great  a  body  of  Sheep  cannot  be  necessary  to  the  extent  to 
which  it  takes  place.  Enormous  abuses  are  committed  on 
the  cultivated  country  as  they  pass  along.  A  fourth  part  of 
the  year  consumed  in  travelling,  must  be  prejudicial  to  the 
health  of  the  animals  in  a  greater  degree  than  the  benefits 
they  derive  from  a  change  of  pasturage.  A  prodigious  mor- 
tality accordingly  takes  place  amongst  these  Sheep ;  and  more 
than  half  the  lambs,  it  is  said,  are  voluntarily  killed,  in  order 
that  the  others  may  be  brought  to  maturity.  The  sale  of  the 
lamb-skins,  which  form  a  subject  of  export  to  other  countries, 
is  indeed  a  source  of  profit,  but  nothing  equal  to  what  the 
rearing  of  the  animals  to  their  state  of  maturity  would  pro- 
duce. That  these  extensive  migrations  are  necessary  to 
preserve  the  fineness  of  the  wool,  is  conceived  to  be  an  error. 
Attention  to  breeding  and  rearing  would  more  certainly  pro- 
duce this  effect  than  a  violent  change  of  place.  In  Spain 
itself  there  are  numerous  flocks  of  stationary  Merinos,  whose 


wool  is  of  all  tlie  fineness  required  ;  and  in  other  countries  of 
Europe,  where  the  Sheep  are  never  moved  off  the  farms  that 
produce  them,  wool  is  produced  superior  to  that  of  the  migra- 
tory flocks  of  Spain.     But  the  system  is  of  great  antiquity, 
and  is  so  riveted  in  the  habits  of  this  ignorant  and  intractable 
people,  that  it  is  likely  to  be  one  of  the  last  of  those  ancient 
abuses  which  will  yield  to  the  desire  of  change,  which  at  this 
moment  agitates  the  feelings  of  men  in  this  distracted  country. 
The  Spaniards  long  preserved  the  monopoly  of  this  race 
of  Sheep  with  jealous  care ;  but  other  countries  at  length 
were  able  to  carry  off  the  Golden  Fleece  of  Spain,  and  the 
Merino  race  is  now  spread  over  a  great  part  of  Europe.     It 
has  been  carried  to  North  America,  to  the  southern  extre- 
mity of  Africa,  and  to  the  boundless  plains  of  New  Holland, 
in  all  of  which  places  it  has  been  found  to  retain,  with,  won- 
derful constancy,  the  characters  which  had  been  imprinted 
on  it  in  its  native  pastures,  and  in  certain  cases  to  surpass  in 
useful  properties  that  of  the  parent  stock.    The  first  country, 
it  is  believed,  which  acquired  the  pure  Merinos,  was  Sweden. 
In  1723,  M.  Alstroemer,  a  spirited  and  patriotic  individual, 
was  enabled  to  import  a  small  flock  of  pure  Merinos.     In 
1793,  the  Swedish  Government  entered  with  zeal  into  the 
plan,  established  an  agricultural  school  under  the  superin- 
tendence of  M.  Alstroemer,  and  used  every  means  to  extend 
the  breed.     The  measures  adopted  succeeded,  to  the  degree 
of  diminishing  the  importation  of  short  wool,  and  increasing 
the  manufacture  of  the  finer  cloths ;  and,  after  the  lapse  of 
more  than  a  century,  the  stranger  race  produces  wool  nearly 
as  soft  and  fine  as  at  its  first  importation.     The  Sheep  are 
housed  during  the  six  months  of  winter,  and  generally  during 
the  nights  in  summer ;  and  it  is  by  means  of  this  artificial 
treatment  that  the  wool  preserves  its  original  properties. 
The  ewes  are  between  two  and  three  years  old  before  they 
are  suffered  to  breed,  and  seven  years  old  before  they  are 
fattened  for  the  butcher.     They  are  far  inferior  in  hardiness 

142  THE  SHEEP. 

to  the  native  races ;  and,  if  due  attention  were  paid  to  the 
cultivation  of  the  latter,  it  may  be  questioned  if  they  would 
not  be  of  superior  economical  value  to  the  breeders.  It  is 
supposed  that  there  are  about  100,000  of  the  pure  and  mixed 
Merinos  in  Sweden,  reckoned  to  be  about  l-25th  part  of  the 
Sheep  of  the  country. 

France,  although  in  contact  with  Spain  on  the  Pyrenees, 
did  not  attempt  to  acquire  the  Merino  race  until  some  time 
before  the  middle  of  last  century,  when  the  illustrious  Col- 
bert, pursuing  his  numerous  plans  for  extending  the  arts  and 
commerce  of  France,  brought  several  Merinos  across  the 
mountains  for  the  purpose  of  improving  the  native  Sheep. 
His  plan,  though  well  devised,  was  opposed  by  the  prejudices 
of  the  people,  and  entirely  failed.  But  in  the  year  1786,  the 
French  Government,  adopting  the  same  design,  imported  a 
considerable  flook  of  pure  Merinos,  and  established  them  at 
the  royal  farm  of  Rambouillet,  near  Paris,  where  their  de- 
scendants yet  remain.  Every  means  were  used  to  extend 
the  breed  amongst  the  agriculturists  of  France,  but  with 
little  comparative  success.  In  1796  the  Directory  of  the 
French  Republic  took  yet  more  active  means  to  multiply  the 
breed.  By  a  secret  article  in  the  treaty  of  Bale,  they  obtained 
power  to  import  from  Spain  100  rams  and  1000  ewes  annu- 
ally for  five  years.  The  Spanish  Government  quickly  re- 
pented of  this  forced  concession,  and  political  events  pre- 
vented the  completion  of  the  scheme,  so  that,  of  the  stipulated 
number,  only  2000  rams  and  ewes  reached  their  destination. 
Napoleon  resumed  the  project,  and  during  his  reign  many 
Merinos  were  brought  across  the  frontiers.  In  this  manner 
have  been  introduced  a  great  number  of  Merinos  into  France, 
which  have  either  remained  pure,  or  been  employed  to  cross 
the  native  races.  But,  upon  the  whole,  France  has  not  been 
very  successful  in  this  branch  of  husbandry.  Although  the 
climate  and  soil  of  France  are  eminently  suited  to  the  pro- 
duction of  fine  wool,  the  minute  division  of  property  in  land, 


the  small  extent  of  sheep  pastures,  and  the  habits  of  the 
peasantry,  have  not  heen  favourable  to  any  general  system 
of  improvement  applied  to  this  race  of  Sheep. 

It  is  in  the  German  States  that  the  Merino  race  has  been 
the  most  widely  diffused,  and  the  most  successfully  culti- 
vated. The  Elector  of  Saxony,  on  the  close  of  the  Seven 
Years'  War  in  1765,  obtained  from  the  King  of  Spain  100 
Merino  rams  and  200  ewes,  taken  from  the  best  flocks  of 
Spain.  He  kept  them  partly  pure  on  his  own  farms  near 
Dresden,  and  he  partly  distributed  them  throughout  the 
country,  for  the  improvement  of  the  native  Saxon  Sheep.  It 
was  soon  found  that  the  race  preserved  all  its  properties, 
and  was  capable,  under  skilful  treatment,  and  by  due  selec- 
tion of  the  breeding  parents,  of  surpassing,  in  the  excellence 
of  the  fleece,  the  stock  from  which  it  had  been  derived.  The 
most  judicious  means  were  employed  to  extend  this  branch 
of  husbandry,  by  the  establishment  of  schools  for  the  instruc- 
tion of  shepherds,  by  the  circulation  of  tracts,  and  otherwise, 
and  very  soon  the  wools  of  Saxony  became  the  finest  in 
Europe.  The  Saxon  sheep-masters  bestow  a  care  in  the 
selection  of  the  Sheep  producing  the  finest  wool,  which  has 
no  parallel  in  any  other  country.  The  best  are  reserved 
for  propagating  the  race,  and  by  this  means  the  characters 
which  indicate  the  property  of  producing  fine  wool,  are  main- 
tained or  increased  in  the  progeny.  This  is  an  application 
of  the  true  principles  of  breeding ;  and  the  care  with  which 
the  system  is  pursued,  is  the  main  cause  of  that  unrivalled 
excellence  to  which  the  fine-woolled  Sheep  of  Saxony  have 
attained.  The  Sheep  are  kept  in  houses  during  the  winter  ; 
and  the  general  treatment  of  them,  with  respect  to  food,  is 
adapted  to  promote  the  fineness  of  the  fleece,  the  production 
of  mutton  being  regarded  as  of  secondary  moment. 

Prussia  followed  Saxony  in  the  same  course  of  improve- 
ment. In  the  year  1768,  M.  Fink,  near  Halle,  in  the  Duchy 
of  Magdeburg,  introduced  some  Saxo-Merino  Sheep,  and  ten 
years  later  several  pure  Merinos  from  Spain.  His  endea- 

144  THE  SHEEP. 

vours  to  improve  the  Sheep  of  the  country  attracted  at  length 
the  notice  of  the  Prussian  Government,  and,  in  1786,  Frede- 
rick the  Great  imported  direct  from  Spain  100  rams  and  200 
ewes  of  the  pure  Merino  Breed.  The  greater  part  of  this 
imported  flock  died  near  Berlin  of  various  maladies ;  and 
those  that  were  sent  to  distant  parts  of  the  country  degene- 
rated, through  the  carelessness  and  want  of  skill  of  those  to 
whom  they  were  entrusted.  M.  Fink  was  commissioned  to 
make  a  second  purchase  of  1000  pure  Merinos  ;  and  agricul- 
tural schools  were  established,  under  the  superin tendance  of 
M.  Fink  himself,  for  the  instruction  of  shepherds,  and  for 
disseminating  a  knowledge  of  the  method  of  treatment  of  the 
Sheep.  These  endeavours  were  successful,  to  the  extent  of 
improving,  by  the  admixture  of  blood,  the  native  races,  and 
shewed  that  the  pure  Merinos  could  be  reared  in  Prussia 
without  deterioration  of  the  properties  of  the  fleece.  The 
animals  are  chiefly  fed  on  hay,  straw,  and  corn  ;  and  the 
same  precautions  are  used  as  are  necessary  in  other  north- 
ern countries  for  protecting  the  Sheep  from  the  inclemencies 
of  the  weather.  A  considerable  number  of  Merinos  of  pure 
and  mixed  races  are  now  produced  in  the  Prussian  States. 
The  wool  of  Silesia,  in  particular,  stands  in  the  first  rank, 
and  has  been  made  greatly  to  surpass  that  of  the  finest  of 
the  migratory  Sheep  of  Spain. 

Austria  early  pursued  the  same  course  which  had  been 
followed  elsewhere.  In  1775,  the  Empress  Maria  Theresa 
imported  into  Hungary  300  Merinos,  and  established  them 
at  the  imperial  farm  of  Meropail.  A  school  for  farmers  and 
shepherds  was  established,  and  printed  instructions  were 
issued,  regarding  the  nature  of  the  wool,  and  the  methods  of 
treatment  to  be  adopted.  Subsequent  importations  were 
made,  and  now  a  large  proportion  of  the  Sheep  of  Hungary 
are  either  pure  Merinos,  or  Merinos  mixed  in  blood  with  the 
indigenous  races.  The  enormous  estates  of  the  Hungarian 
nobles,  whatever  may  be  their  effect  on  general  industry,  are 
well  adapted  to  the  husbandry  of  Sheep  ;  and  this  country 


can  now  boast  of  wool  equalling  in  fineness  that  of  the 
mountains  of  Spain.  In  Bohemia,  and  almost  all  the  other 
Austrian  States,  Merinos  have  been  introduced,  and  every- 
where have  been  seen  to  equal  or  surpass  the  parent  stock. 
In  Wurtemberg,  Hanover,  Bavaria,  and  other  countries  of 
Germany,  the  same  means  have  been  employed  with  suc- 
cess, to  introduce  the  Merino  race.  It  has  been  carried  to 
Denmark  and  Norway,  to  Poland  and  Switzerland,  and  to  the 
dominions  of  Russia,  especially  on  the  Black  Sea,  where  a 
climate  exists  calculated  to  bring  every  natural  production 
to  excellence.  The  Merino  race  has  thus  been  naturalized 
over  the  greater  part  of  Europe,  from  Scandinavia  to  the 
Crimea ;  and  Spain  can  never  more  possess  the  monopoly  of 
a  production  which  had  descended  to  her  as  an  inheritance 
for  so  many  ages.  The  experiments  shew,  that  a  certain 
class  of  characters  having  been  imprinted  on  a  breed  of  ani- 
mals, these  characters  can  be  preserved  under  very  varying 
conditions  of  soil  and  temperature,  by  artificial  treatment 
suited  to  the  ends  proposed,  and  by  selecting,  for  the  con- 
tinuance of  the  race,  the  animals  in  which  the  properties 
required  are  sufficiently  developed. 

The  Merino  Breed,  which  had  extended  to  so  many  coun- 
tries of  Europe,  was  at  a  period  more  recent  introduced  into 
the  British  Islands.  George  III.,  a  zealous  and  patriotic 
agriculturist,  resolved  to  make  a  trial  of  this  celebrated 
breed  on  his  own  farms,  and  means  were  taken  to  obtain  a 
small  Merino  flock.  This  was  done  clandestinely  ;  the  ani- 
mals were  selected  from  the  flocks  of  different  individuals, 
where  they  could  best  be  got ;  and  were  driven  through  Portu- 
gal, and  embarked  at  Lisbon.  They  were  safely  landed  at 
Portsmouth,  and  conducted  to  the  King's  farm  at  Kew. 
The  flock  was  bad  ;  the  selection  had  been  carelessly  or  igno- 
rantly  made ;  and  the  animals  being  taken  from  different 
flocks,  presented  no  uniformity  of  characters.  It  was  then 
resolved  to  make  direct  application  to  the  Spanish  Govern- 
ment for  permission  to  export  some  Sheep  from  the  best 


146  THE  SHEEP. 

flocks.  The  request  was  at  once  complied  with ;  a  small 
and  choice  flock  was  presented  to  His  Majesty  by  the  Mar- 
chioness del  Campo  di  Alange  of  the  Negretti  flocks,  esteemed 
to  be  the  most  valuable  in  Spain ;  and,  in  return,  His  Majesty 
presented  to  the  Marchioness  eight  splendid  coach-horses. 
This  flock  arrived  in  England  in  1791,  and  was  immediately 
transferred  to  the  Royal  farms,  while  all  those  previously 
imported  were  disposed  of  or  destroyed. 

On  the  first  change  of  these  Sheep  to  the  moist  and  luxu- 
riant pastures  of  England,  they  suffered  greatly  from  dis- 
eases, and,  above  all,  rot,  which  destroyed  numbers  of  them  ; 
and  from  foot-rot,  which  affected  them  to  a  grievous  extent. 
By  a  little  change  of  pastures,  these  evils  were  remedied  ; 
and,  after  the  first  season,  the  survivors  became  reconciled 
to  their  new  situation,  and  their  progeny  seemed  thoroughly 
naturalized,  and  remained  as  free  from  diseases  as  the  Sheep 
of  the  country.  The  wool  was  from  year  to  year  carefully 
examined  :  that  of  the  original  stock  remained  unaffected  by 
the  change  of  climate,  while,  in  that  of  their  descendants, 
little  degeneracy  could  be  detected  either  in  its  felting  pro- 
perties or  fineness. 

This  experiment  excited  extreme  interest  throughout  the 
kingdom.  Various  individuals  endeavoured  to  cultivate  the 
pure  race,  but  experiments  were  mainly  directed  towards 
crossing  the  native  breeds  with  Merino  rams,  in  the  hope  of 
combining  the  fineness  of  the  Spanish  fleece  with  the  econo- 
mical qualities  of  the  English  Sheep.  With  this  design,  the 
Merino  rams  were  made  to  cross  the  South  Down,  the  Wilt- 
shire, the  Leicester,  and  the  Byeland  ewes ;  and  in  some 
cases  the  experiment  was  reversed,  and  the  English  rams, 
especially  of  the  Eyeland  Breed,  were  put  to  the  Merino 
ewes.  Many  distinguished  agriculturists,  Mr  Coke,  after- 
wards Earl  of  Leicester,  Sir  Joseph  Banks,  the  Duke  of  Bed- 
ford, the  late  Lord  Somerville,  and  others,  prosecuted  these 
curious  and  important  experiments  ;  and  the  writings  of  Dr 
Parry  and  others  brought  the  subject  in  a  prominent  manner 
before  the  country. 


In  the  year  1804,  when  the  sale  took  place  from  His  Ma- 
jesty's stock,  many  purchasers,  the  advocates  of  the  Merino 
Breed,  came  forward,  and  the  Sheep  were  sold  at  high, 
though  not  at  exorbitant,  prices ;  the  average  price  of  the 
rams  being  L.19, 14s.  a-head,  and  that  of  the  ewes  L.8 : 15 :  6. 
In  the  following  autumn,  a  similar  sale  took  place  at  advanc- 
ing prices.  Seventeen  rams  and  twenty-one  ewes  were  sold 
for  L.1148,  14s.,  being  at  the  average  rate  of  L.30  : 4 :  6. 
At  succeeding  sales,  these  rates  were  maintained  or  increased. 
In  1810,  thirty-three  rams  brought  L.1920,  9s.,  or  L.38  :  9  : 11 
a-head,  and  seventy  ewes,  at  the  average  rate  of  about 
L.37,  10s. 

In  the  year  1811,  a  society  was  established  under  the  pre- 
sidency of  the  distinguished  and  indefatigable  Sir  Joseph 
Banks,  with  the  express  design  of  promoting  and  encourag- 
ing the  cultivation  of  the  Merino  breed.  Fifty-four  vice- 
presidents  were  named,  and  local  committees  established  in 
almost  every  district,  or  county,  of  England.  This  Society, 
the  most  influential,  from  its  numbers  and  the  agricultural 
skill  of  its  members,  that  had  yet  been  established  in  Britain, 
pursued  their  task  with  spirit  and  zeal.  Amongst  other  means 
adopted  for  promoting  the  purposes  of  this  institution,  was 
the  offering  of  premiums  for  pure  Merinos,  or  for  the  crosses 
with  the  native  Sheep.  Every  thing  favoured  the  purposes 
of  this  patriotic  band,  and  in  an  especial  degree  the  unex- 
ampled prosperity  of  the  landed  interests  of  the  country,  and 
the  enormous  prices  of  the  finest  class  of  wools,  produced^by 
the  events  of  the  war. 

Public  opinion,  however,  and  the  practical  judgment  of 
farmers,  had,  even  before  this  period,  been  reducing  the  pre- 
tensions of  the  Merino  breed,  and  the  mixed  progeny,  to  the 
proper  standard,  as  the  subjects  of  economical  culture.  It 
was  found,  that  however  promising  were  the  crosses  at  first, 
the  progeny  invariably  fell  short  of  the  expectations  formed. 
They  were  small  in  size,  less  hardy  than  the  British  parents, 
and  generally  of  inferior  form.  So  perfectly  have  time  and 
experience  confirmed  these  results,  that  there  scarcely  exists, 

148  THE  SHEEP. 

except  in  the  hands  of  the  curious,  a  single  flock  of  the  mixed 
progeny  from  which  so  much  was  anticipated.  They  have 
either  been  abandoned  altogether,  or  the  breeders  have  gra- 
dually recrossed  with  English  blood,  until  almost  all  traces 
of  the  Spanish  mixture  have  been  lost. 

In  place,  however,  of  attempts  to  engraft  the  Spanish  upon 
the  English  stock,  other  breeders  preserved  the  pure  Merinos, 
and  this  experiment  was  greatly  more  successful  than  the 
other.  The  naturalized  Merinos  have  been  found  to  increase 
in  size,  in  disposition  to  fatten,  in  the  power  of  the  females 
to  yield  milk,  and,  by  attention  in  breeding,  to  improve  in 
the  external  form.  The  wool  becomes  longer,  and  loses  some- 
what, though  not  much,  of  its  tenuity,  unless,  indeed,  the 
means  are  taken  to  secure  the  animals,  as  in  Saxony,  from 
cold,  the  necessary  effect  of  which  is  to  call  forth  a  greater 
production  of  wool  for  the  protection  of  the  animal.  The 
naturalized  Merinos  have  never  acquired  the  hardiness  of  the 
native  races,  and  would  perish  at  once  on  the  mountains  on 
which  the  Welsh,  the  Cheviot,  and  the  Black-faced  Heath- 
breeds,  are  acclimated.  Nevertheless,  analogy  conducts  us 
to  the  conclusion,  that  the  Merinos  are  capable  of  becoming, 
by  degrees,  adapted  to  the  climate  in  which  they  are  reared. 

The  objections  to  the  cultivation  of  Merinos  in  the  Bri- 
tish Islands  are  not  that  they  cannot  be  reared,  inured  to  the 
cold,  and  improved  in  form,  with  a  moderate  preservation 
of  the  characters  of  the  wool,  but  that  they  do  not,  as  a 
breed,  equal,  in  economical  importance,  those  of  which  we 
are  already  possessed.  The  wool,  indeed,  is  the  most  va- 
luable and  abundant  of  that  of  any  race  of  Sheep  that  we 
can  rear ;  but  the  wool  is  not  the  only  profitable  produce  of 
Sheep  in  this  country ;  and  it  is  by  a  combination  of  the  pro- 
duction of  mutton  and  wool,  that  the  interests  of  the  farmer 
are  best  served.  The  breed  is  in  the  country,  can  be  ob- 
tained by  every  one,  and  has  been  the  subject  of  trial  by  the 
best  farmers ;  and  yet  we  see  it  almost  everywhere  aban- 
doned in  favour  of  the  native  races.  Did  the  British  farmer, 
like  the  Saxon,  derive  his  principal  profit  from  the  fleece, 


and  little  from  the  carcass,  then  he  might  cultivate  the  pro- 
duction of  the  one  in  preference  to  the  other  ;  but  this  is  not 
the  case  under  the  present  circumstances  of  this  cojuntry,  and 
the  British  farmer's  interest  is  therefore  different.  He  can- 
not afford  to  shut  the  animals  in  houses  for  half  the  year,  for 
the  purpose  of  protecting  them  from  the  inclemency  of  the 
weather,  in  order  that  the  wool  may  be  fine ;  nor  to  feed 
them  on  hay  and  corn,  in  preference  to  the  abundant  roots, 
herbage,  and  forage  plants,  with  which  the  agriculture  of  the 
country  enables  him  to  supply  his  animals. 

If  individual  interest  does  not  admit  of  the  cultivation  of 
fine  wool  in  preference  to  abundant  mutton,  and  the  adoption 
of  a  breed  of  inferior  hardiness,  early  maturity,  and  fatten- 
ing powers,  so  neither  does  it  seem  that  the  national  interest 
requires  it.  Spain,  and  other  countries  of  Europe  where  the 
fleece  is  more  valuable  than  the  carcass,  are  employed  in 
producing  fine  wool,  and  the  extended  commercial  relations 
of  England  enable  her  to  obtain  it,  in  the  quantity  which  her 
manufacturers  consume,  from  all  these  countries.  Even  her 
own  colonies  are  now  enabled  to  supply  it  in  increasing 
abundance.  Is  it  not  better,  then,  that  we  should  trust  to 
commerce  for  the  supplies  of  a  commodity  which  can  be 
raised  more  cheaply  than  at  home,  and  devote  our  Sheep 
especially  to  the  production  of  that  food  with  which  no  other 
country  can  supply  us,  contenting  ourselves  with  a  kind  of 
wool  which,  though  less  fine  than  that  produced  elsewhere, 
is  all  required  and  consumed  by  the  manufactures  of  the 
country  ? 

The  most  distinguished  breeders  of  Merinos  at  this  time 
in  England  are  Lord  Western  and  Mr  Benett,  M.  P.  for 
"Wiltshire.  Lord  Western's  stock  is  either  Saxon,  or  has 
been  crossed  by  Saxon  rams ;  Mr  Benett's  is  pure  Spanish, 
and  has  undergone  progressive  improvement,  by  selection 
of  individuals  of  the  same  blood.  The  number  of  his  flock 
amounted  at  one  time  toTOOO ;  but  it  was  subsequently  reduced 
to  3500.  It  was  treated  in  the  ordinary  manner  of  Sheep  in 

150  THE  SHEEP, 

this  country.  Lord  Western's,  it  is  believed,  is  managed 
more  in  the  Saxon  manner,  with  respect  to  protection  from 
the  weather.  Mr  Benett's  fine  flock,  notwithstanding  that  it 
had  been  thus  acclimated,  perished  in  great  numbers  in  a 
severe  winter  some  years  ago,  proving  that  the  race  had  not 
yet  lived  sufficiently  long  in  England  to  be  perfectly  inured  to 
its  cold  and  variable  climate.  Other  gentlemen  have  imported 
Merinos  direct  from  Saxony,  and  thus  obtained  at  once  the 
highest  perfection  of  the  fleece ;  but  there  is  little  reason  to 
believe  that  their  experiments  will  be  more  successful  than 
those  that  had  been  previously  made.  Merinos  have  been 
lately  carried  in  some  numbers  to  Ireland,  and  may  perhaps 
prove  more  advantageous  than  some  of  the  existing  breeds ; 
but  this  will  not  shew  the  great  value  of  the  Merinos,  but 
the  comparatively  little  value  of  the  races  which  they  have 

The  Merino  breed  of  Sheep  has  likewise  been  carried  to  a 
different  region  of  the  globe,  and  been  subjected  to  a  new  set 
of  external  agents.  The  great  insular  continent  of  New  Hol- 
land, presenting  characters,  in  its  vegetable  and  animal  pro- 
ductions, which  distinguish^  it  from  all  other  countries,  has 
now  received  this  important  race,  which  has  been  found  to 
adapt  itself  with  the  utmost  facility  to  its  new  condition. 
The  first  European  settlement  in  this  remarkable  country 
was  made  in  the  year  1788,  when  a  party  of  English  crimi- 
nals was  landed  in  Botany  Bay.  To  supply  the  early  colo- 
nists with  wool  and  mutton,  and  establish  a  permanent  flock 
for  their  future  maintenance,  Sheep  were  imported  from 
Bengal.  These  were  the  small  hairy  animals  found  in  that 
part  of  India.  It  was  soon  discovered  that  these  miserable 
Sheep  improved  in  their  useful  properties  by  the  change  of 
climate  and  food.  They  became  prolific,  the  hair  diminished 
in  quantity,  and  a  fleece  of  soft  wool,  though  not  of  great 
fineness,  succeeded.  This  simple  experiment  added  to  the 
many  proofs  before  existing  of  the  all-pervading  influence  of 
external  circumstances  over  the  form  and  characters  of  ani- 


mals.  The  importation  of  Bengal  Sheep  was  soon  after 
followed  by  that  of  superior  races  from  the  mother  country. 
Individuals  of  the  Leicester  and  South  Down  breeds  were  by 
degrees  imported,  affording  the  kinds  which  were  wanted  by 
the  infant  colony,  namely,  animals  that  should  supply  food 
rather  than  wool.  This  experiment  was  entirely  successful, 
and  the  intermixture  of  the  new  Sheep  enlarged  the  size,  and 
increased  the  economical  value,  of  the  original  race.  The 
wool  even  of  these  crosses,  notwithstanding  of  the  most 
slovenly  treatment  on  the  part  of  their  owners,  was  found 
equal  or  superior  to  the  finest  produced  in  the  mother  country ; 
and  in  twelve  years  from  the  first  landing  of  the  settlers,  the 
Sheep  of  the  colony  had  increased  to  upwards  of  6000.  The 
result  of  these  trials,  and  the  growing  prosperity  of  the 
settlement,  produced  a  desire  on  the  part  of  the  wealthier 
colonists  to  try  the  fine-woolled  Sheep  of  Spain,  which  had 
been  introduced  into  the  British  Islands.  A  few  of  this  race 
were  obtained  from  England,  and  the  result,  like  all  the  pre- 
vious experiments,  proved  the  admirable  adaptation  of  the 
country  to  the  rearing  of  Sheep,  and  in  an  especial  degree  to 
the  production  of  a  fine  and  soft  wool.  After  a  few  crosses 
with  the  existing  race,  the  wool  produced  was  found  to  be 
nearly  equal  to  that  of  the  pure  Merinos  of  Spain  ;  and  when 
the  original  race  was  preserved  without  intermixture,  the 
wool  became  more  fine  and  soft  than  that  of  the  same  race 
in  their  native  pastures.  Merinos  were  now  imported  direct 
from  Saxony,  and  this  experiment  likewise  was  successful. 
When  the  breed  was  preserved  pure,  the  wool  preserved  its 
essential  properties,  with  that  increase  of  flexibility  and  soft- 
ness which  is  the  distinctive  character  of  the  Australian  wools. 
Some  of  the  wool  of  these  Saxon  Sheep,  when  it  had  been 
properly  cleaned  and  attended  to,  brought  the  highest  price 
of  any  other  in  the  English  market,  and  led  to  the  belief,  that 
these  rising  colonies  were  destined  to  supply  the  manufac- 
tures of  England  with  wool  superior  to  that  of  any  other 
country.  These  expectations  were  formed  chiefly  in  con- 

152  THE  SHEEP. 

sequence  of  the  peculiar  softness  of  these  new  wools,  which 
fitted  them  to  amalgamate  admirably  with  the  harsher  wools 
of  the  country  in  certain  manufactures.  But  although  the 
best  of  the  Australian  wools  still  sustain  a  high  character, 
they  are  not  found  to  equal  the  Saxon,  in  fineness,  and  that 
peculiar  property  which  fits  them  for  the  manufacture  of 
cloth.  This  is  indeed  the  consequence  of  the  diiferent  con- 
ditions of  the  two  countries.  In  Saxony  labour  is  cheap,  and 
an  attention  can  be  devoted  to  the  improvement  of  the  Sheep 
and  their  wool,  which  is  impracticable  in  a  thinly  peopled 
country,  where  the  want  of  labourers  supplied  at 
any  price.  Under  such  circumstances,  there  must  be  a  rude- 
ness of  management  inconsistent  with  the  minute  attention 
necessary  to  preserve  and  increase  to  the  uttermost  the  valu- 
able properties  of  the  fleece.  The  matter  of  surprise  is  not, 
that,  under  such  circumstances,  the  Australian  production 
should  be  inferior  to  the  Saxon,  but  that  it  should  so  nearly 
equal  it. 

The  island  of  Van  Diemen's  Land,  situated  to  the  south 
of  New  Holland,  between  the  latitudes  of  nearly  41°  and  44° 
south,  enjoying  a  cooler  temperature,  and  being  more  exempt 
from  the  severe  droughts  of  the  sister  country,  was  settled 
by  two  ships  which  had  proceeded  from  England  with  con- 
victs. The  first  destination  of  these  persons  was  Port  Philip, 
which  they  reached  in  the  autumn  of  1805  ;  but  it  being  con- 
ceived that  obstacles  existed  to  the  establishment  of  a  per- 
manent settlement  at  that  port,  they  were  carried  to  the  river 
Derwent,  where,  soon  after,  Hobart  Town,  the  capital  of  the 
new  colony,  was  founded.  Sheep  of  the  defective  Indian 
breed  were  soon  afterwards  introduced  into  the  colony  ;  but 
it  was  not  until  the  year  1820,  that  the  cultivation  of  fine- 
woolled  Sheep  was  fully  established.  A  flock  of  300  Merino 
lambs  was  imported  from  Sydney  ;  but,  in  consequence  of  a 
distemper  which  broke  out  amongst  them  previous  to  sailing, 
only  181  arrived  at  their  destination  in  September  1820. 
These  were  distributed  amongst  the  colonists  about  Hobart 


Town ;  and,  some  years  later,  pure  Merinos  were  imported 
from  Saxony.  Thus  the  basis  of  a  fine-woolled  breed  of 
Sheep  has  been  laid  in  this  interesting  island,  although  as 
yet  the  wool  produced  has  not  equalled  in  value  that  of  the 
sister  colony. 

The  progressive  increase  in  the  numbers  of  sheep  in  these 
noble  possessions  is  without  example.  In  the  year  1810,  only 
167  Ib.  of  wool  were  imported  into  England  from  the  colony 
of  New  South  Wales.  In  1820,  the  quantity  had  increased  to 
99,418  Ib. ;  in  1830,  to  973,336  Ib. :  in  1832,  the  quantity 
brought  from  both  colonies  was  3,516,869  Ib.  ;  in  1838, 
8,067,243  Ib. ;  and  since  this  period  the  importation  has  been 
proceeding  in  a  constantly  increasing  ratio.  Other  settle- 
ments have  been  established  on  the  coasts  of  New  Holland, 
at  Swan  River,  at  Port  Philip,  and  elsewhere ;  and  more  re- 
cently the  tide  of  emigration  has  flowed  into  the  lovely  islands 
of  New  Zealand,  which,  however,  being  covered  with  dense 
forests,  are  less  suited  to  the  multiplication  of  sheep  than  the 
vast  plains  of  New  Holland.  Thus,  in  regions  almost  un- 
known to  the  civilized  world  until  within  the  memory  of  the 
living  generation,  are  to  be  found  the  means  of  supplying  the 
woollen  manufactures  of  England  with  the  raw  material  in 
boundless  quantity  ;  and  it  is  gratifying  to  humanity  to  think 
that  the  foundations  of  this  great  storehouse  of  public  wealth 
have  been  laid,  not  on  violence  and  bloodshed,  but  on  agricul- 
tural prosperity,  and  the  improvement  of  the  fleece. 

The  attention  of  the  Australian  colonists  has  been  natu- 
rally directed  to  the  cultivation  of  fine  wool ;  but  it  is  evident 
that  there  are  limits  to  the  profits  to  be  derived  from  this 
commodity,  both  from  the  increasing  production  of  the  coun- 
try, and  from  the  rivalship  of  the  districts  of  Europe  where 
the  Merino  wool  is  cultivated.  It  is  a  question,  therefore, 
whether  the  colonists  should  not  now  direct  attention  to  the 
long  or  combing  wools  as  well  as  to  the  short  or  felting.  It 
is  probable  that  the  long  wools  of  England  would  acquire,  in 
these  favoured  climes,  the  very  properties  which  would  benefit 

154  THE  SHEEP. 

them  the  most,  and  that  the  heavier  fleeces  of  the  Leicester, 
the  Cotswold,  and  the  Old  Lincoln  Sheep,  would  yield  a  larger 
profit  to  the  wool-grower  than  even  the  higher  priced  Merino. 
But  the  two  classes  of  Sheep  should  be  kept  entirely  distinct. 
The  Merino  breed  should  be  selected  and  cultivated  with  all 
the  care  which  the  state  of  the  country  will  allow.  Merinos 
of  the  pure  race  may  be  obtained  in  England  ;  but  in  num- 
bers too  small  to  supply  any  considerable  demand.  They 
would  be  more  conveniently  procured  from  Saxony,  proper 
precautions  being  employed  in  making  the  selection  from 
flocks  of  established  reputation.  The  best  period  for  exa- 
mining the  flocks  is  the  month  of  January,  or  even  February. 
The  cheapest  mode  of  getting  an  improved  stock  is  to  pur- 
chase the  refuse  or  cast  ewes  ;  but  the  proper  mode  to  insure 
the  obtaining  of  them  of  the  best  sorts  is  to  make  a  selection 
out  of  the  good  flocks  of  the  country.  Unless,  however,  the 
purchaser  is  a  very  good  judge  of  the  quality  of  the  wool,  he 
will  require  an  assistant  in  the  country,  who,  for  a  fixed 
amount  per  head,  will  make  the  selection ;  and  it  will  be 
proper  for  those  who  are  to  make  considerable  purchases  to 
send  a  trusty  person  to  the  country.  The  price  for  refuse 
ewes  is  from  four  to  eight  dollars,  at  3s.  per  dollar ;  of  se- 
lected ewes,  from  ten  to  twenty  dollars,  and  of  rams,  from 
k  L.3  to  L.20.  Some  remarkably  fine  rams  even  bring  prices 
so  high  as  from  L.50  to  L.200  ;  but  this  great  expense  can 
never  be  required,  except  in  the  case  of  individuals  who  al- 
ready possess  highly  improved  flocks,  which  they  are  desirous 
of  bringing  to  the  greatest  degree  of  perfection.  In  the  case 
of  Australian  settlers,  it  would  be  well  for  a  number  to  com- 
bine and  purchase  a  considerable  number  at  once,  as  from 
1000  to  2000  ewes,  with  a  corresponding  number  of  rams. 
The  best  mode  of  proceeding  would  be,  to  collect  the  Sheep 
at  Biesa  on  the  Elbe,  and  ship  them  to  Hamburg,  a  separate 
boat  being  hired  for  the  purpose.  Shipments  might  also  be 
made  from  Dresden.  The  precautions  to  be  used  in  making 
these  purchases  are,  to  deal  only  with  persons  of  known  cha- 


racter,  and,  as  has  been  said,  to  obtain  an  assistant  in  the 
country  to  select  the  Sheep,  and  to  send  a  trusty  servant  to 
take  charge  of  them.  The  expense  of  purchasing  and  trans- 
porting the  Sheep  to  England  is  not  considerable ;  and  when 
we  consider  the  immense  national  importance  of  conveying 
to  our  Australian  possessions  the  best  of  the  race  that  can  be 
obtained,  it  is  to  be  trusted  that  the  colonists  will  find  it  for 
their  interest  to  resort  to  countries  where  the  animals  can 
be  obtained  in  the  greatest  purity  and  perfection. 


In  the  tract  of  country  lying  westward  of  the  Severn,  and 
bounded  by  the  mountains  of  Wales,  there  has  in  every 
known  period  existed  a  race  of  Sheep,  of  small  size,  destitute 
of  horns,  and  noted  for  the  softness  and  fineness  of  their 
wool.  The  part  of  England  where  this  breed  was  long  the 
most  diffused  and  cultivated  was  the  county  of  Hereford,  a 
tract  of  the  old  red  sandstone  formation,  stretching  from  the 
confines  of  Wales  to  near  the  Severn.  But  the  breed  ex- 
tended into  Monmouthshire  on  the  south,  into  Shropshire  on 
the  north,  and  into  Gloucestershire  and  Warwickshire  on  the 
east,  occupying  many  forests,  commons,  and  wastes.  The 
variety  reared  in  the  county  of  Hereford  was  generally  termed 
the  Hereford  Breed.  Sometimes  it  was  characterized  by  the 
names  of  the  places  in  which  it  was  found  in  the  greatest 
numbers  or  perfection.  It  was  sometimes  termed  the  Archen- 
field  Breed,  and  sometimes  the  Ross  Breed,  from  the  south- 
eastern district  of  the  county  lying  between  the  Forest  of 
Dean  and  the  Malvern  Hills.  But  it  became  at  length  more 
generally  known  by  the  name  of  the  Ryeland  Breed,  from 
certain  sandy  tracts  formerly  devoted  to  the  production  of 
rye,  situated  southward  of  the  river  Wye. 

We  have  no  historical  record  of  the  derivation  of  this 
breed  from  any  other  country,  and  may  therefore  assume 

156  THE  SHEEP. 

that  it  had  been  indigenous  beyond  all  memorial  to  the  dis- 
tricts which  it  inhabited.  It  may  not  unreasonably  be  in- 
ferred to  be  a  variety  of  that  widely-diffused  race  of  soft- 
woolled  Sheep  which  formerly  extended  from  the  mountains 
and  islands  of  Scotland  to  the  mountains  of  Wales,  and 
which  was  probably  in  possession  of  the  earliest  Celtic  in- 
habitants of  the  British  islands.  From  its  diminutive  size, 
its  patience  of  scanty  food,  and  the  lightness  of  its  fleece,  we 
may  conclude  that  it  was  the  native  of  countries  of  a  low 
degree  of  fertility,  probably  of  districts  of  forest,  which,  until 
cleared  of  their  wood,  are  always  unproductive  with  respect 
to  the  nutritive  grasses.  The  county  of  Hereford,  it  is  to  be 
observed,  though  now  rendered  rich  and  beautiful  by  art, 
was  formerly  covered  with  woods,  and  interspersed  with  ex- 
tensive commons  and  chases,  which  long  remained  waste  and 
barren.  "We  are  not  therefore  to  conclude,  that,  because  the 
country  is  now  fertilized,  it  was  not  formerly  suited  to  the 
maintenance  of  a  race  of  small  Sheep.  The  nature  of  the 
wool  of  this  breed,  too,  which  was  noted  beyond  any  other 
for  its  fineness,  caused  the  breed  to  be  preserved  unmixed, 
and  with  nearly  its  pristine  characters,  long  after  the  county 
of  Hereford  had  become  capable  of  supporting  larger  ani- 

The  wool  of  the  Ryeland  breed  was  long  regarded  as  the 
finest  that  the  British  islands  produced.  The  ancient  city 
of  Leominster,  being  surrounded  by  a  country  producing 
this  kind  of  wool,  and  being  the  market-town  to  which  it  was 
brought  for  sale,  gave  name  to  the  wool  of  the  country,  which 
was  termed  Lemster  Wool,  or  Lemster  Ore.  Drayton,  who 
wrote  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.,  when  comparing  the  wool 
of  the  Cotteswold  Hills  with  the  lighter  fleeces  of  Lemster, 
bears  testimony  to  the  superior  fineness  of  the  latter.  Cam- 
den,  describing  the  town  of  Leominster,  "  which,"  says  he, 
"  was  also  called  Leon  Minster,  and  Lyon's  Monastery,  of  a 
Lyon  that  appeared  to  a  religious  man  in  a  vision,"  says, 
"  The  greatest  name  and  fame  is  of  the  wool  in  the  territories 


round  about  it  (Lemster  Ore  they  call  it),  which,  setting  aside 
that  of  Apulia  and  Tarentum,  all  Europe  counteth  to  be  the 
verie  best." 

A  method  of  treating  the  Sheep  of  this  part  of  England, 
calculated  to  preserve  and  increase  the  fineness  of  the  wool, 
existed  until  a  recent  period.  The  animals  were  kept  during 
the  night  in  large  houses  termed  Cots,  capable  of  containing 
from  100  to  500  Sheep.  This  practice  was  probably  adopted 
in  early  times,  for  the  purpose  of  protecting  the  animals 
from  the  wolves  which  greatly  abounded  in  the  forests  of  the 
western  counties.  It  may  be  supposed  to  have  been  continued 
afterwards  by  habit ;  but  experience  would  shew  that  it  was 
eminently  calculated  to  preserve  and  increase  that  fineness 
of  the  wool  for  which  the  breed  was  distinguished.  The 
animals  in  these  cots  were  sparingly  fed  with  pease-straw 
and  other  dry  forage,  a  system  eminently  favourable  to  the 
production  of  a  short  and  delicate  fleece. 

The  modern  Ryelands,  where  they  yet  exist,  retain  the 
diminutive  size  of  their  progenitors.  Their  form  is  compact, 
and  their  mutton  is  juicy  and  delicate.  They  are  gentle  and 
well  formed ;  and  they  are  patient  in  a  remarkable  degree 
of  scanty  fare.  Both  sexes  are  destitute  of  horns.  The 
colour  of  the  whole  fleece  is  white,  and  the  wool  extends 
forward  to  the  face,  forming  a  tuft  on  the  forehead.  This 
wool  is  yet  the  finest  produced  in  England.  It  is  not,  how- 
ever, equal  in  this  respect  to  that  of  the  Spanish  Merino, 
nor  so  well  suited,  by  its  felting  properties,  for  the  purposes 
of  the  clothier,  on  which  account,  since  the  extensive  intro- 
duction of  the  fine  wools  of  Spain  and  Germany,  its  relative 
value  has  greatly  declined.  Further,  the  Sheep  are  of  small 
size,  and  inferior  in  economical  value  to  the  races  which  the 
country  is  capable  of  maintaining.  Hence,  the  inducement 
to  cultivate  the  breed  has  been  constantly  diminishing,  so 
that  it  has  now  almost  ceased  to  exist  in  a  state  of  purity. 

The  smallness  of  the  size  of  the  Ryelands  led  to  innumer- 
able experiments  in  crossing,  with  the  design  of  increasing 

158  THE   SHEEP. 

the  weight  of  the  animals,  and  in  the  hope  of  maintaining 
the  fineness  of  the  wool.  The  experiments  failed,  as  might 
have  been  anticipated,  with  respect  to  the  preservation  of 
the  quality  of  the  wool,  but  succeeded  in  increasing  the  size 
of  the  progeny.  But  the  system  of  crossing,  which  excited 
the  greatest  attention,  and  from  which  the  most  favourable 
results  were  anticipated,  was  with  the  Spanish  Merino,  soon 
after  the  introduction  of  that  celebrated  breed  into  England. 
Strenuous  exertions  were  used  by  individuals  and  public 
associations  to  introduce  the  Spanish  blood,  and  sanguine 
calculations  were  made  of  the  benefits  likely  to  result  to  the 
woollen  manufactures  of  the  country.  Time  and  experience 
have  proved  the  fallacy  of  all  these  hopes,  and  left  to  agri- 
culturists an  instructive  lesson  on  the  principles  of  breeding. 
The  first  crosses  promised  well ;  but,  in  breeding  from  the 
mixed  progeny,  it  was  found  that,  while  the  wool  had  become 
inferior  to  that  of  the  Spanish  stock,  the  hardy  qualities,  the 
goodness  of  form,  and  the  aptitute  to  fatten,  of  the  English 
breed,  were  impaired.  The  crosses  became  remarkably  di- 
minutive ;  and  the  whole  labour  of  the  experiments  was  found 
to  have  been  thrown  away.  It  was  assumed  that  the  Spanish 
Merino  and  the  English  Ryeland  were  the  same  race.  A 
better  knowledge  of  either  would  have  shown  that  the  two 
races  were  remarkably  distinct  in  their  characters  ;  and  that, 
if  any  of  the  English  breeds  were  suited  to  this  kind  of 
crossing,  it  was  the  Dorset  and  Pink-nosed  Somerset,  and 
not  the  diminutive  Ryeland.  This  species  of  crossing  has 
been  long  in  disuse,  but  numbers  of  the  flocks  in  Hereford- 
shire and  the  adjoining  counties  still  exhibit  traces  of  the 
Spanish  mixture. 

Some  breeders  endeavoured  to  improve  the  native  race  by 
selection  of  individuals  and  superior  feeding.  The  breed, 
however,  was  naturally  diminutive,  and  numerous  genera- 
tions of  Sheep  must  have  passed  away  before  this  radical 
character  of  the  race  could  have  been  changed.  The  system, 
therefore,  was  resorted  to,  of  effecting  the  end  by  crossing 


with  larger  animals,  as  the  Southdowns,  the  Leicesters,  and 
the  Cotswolds.  It  was  found,  however,  that  scarce  any  of 
our  races  of  Sheep  was  with  more  difficulty  amalgamated 
with  others  than  the  ancient  Ryeland  ;  and  a  vast  number  of 
worthless  Sheep  were  long  produced  in  Herefordshire  by 
these  crosses.  A  better  course  was  found  to  be,  to  substitute 
at  once  the  stranger  stock  which  it  was  proposed  to  culti- 
vate. Numbers  accordingly,  chiefly  Leicesters  and  Cotswolds, 
are  now  reared  in  the  country,  and  the  "Ryeland  breed  is 
diminishing  from  year  to  year.  The  last  great  cultivator  of 
the  Ryeland  Breed  was  Mr  Tomkins  of  Kingspion,  the  dis- 
tinguished improver  of  the  modern  breed  of  Hereford  cattle. 
Mr  Tomkins  persevered  in  keeping  up  the  breed  of  his  native 
county.  He  succeeded  in  communicating  to  it  greater 
symmetry  of  form,  but  he  did  not  succeed  in  enlarging  the 
size  to  the  degree  of  rendering  it  of  equal  economical  value 
with  the  races  by  which  it  has  been  supplanted. 

All  the  minor  varieties  of  this  once  celebrated  breed  have 
partaken  more  or  less  of  change.  One  variety,  greatly  dis- 
tinguished, inhabited  the  Forest  of  Dean,  a  tract  of  the  coal- 
formation  lying  between  the  Severn  and  Wye.  This  tract 
was  formerly  covered  with  one  of  the  densest  forests  in 
England, — "  So  dark  and  terrible,"  says  Camden,  "  by  reason 
of  crooked  and  winding  waies,  as  also  the  grisly  shade  thereof, 
that  it  made  the  inhabitants  more  fierce,  and  boulder  to  com- 
mit robberies."  By  the  discovery  of  mines  in  this  forest,  the 
woods  were  gradually  thinned,  and  at  last  nearly  extirpated  ; 
and  it  then  continued  to  be  occupied  by  a  kind  of  Sheep, 
which,  until  our  own  times,  were  held  in  the  greatest  esti- 
mation for  the  fineness  of  their  wool.  The  Dean  Forest 
breed  has  now  disappeared  in  the  pure  state,  having  merged 
in  the  crosses  of  all  kinds  that  have  been  made  with  it.  A 
similar  variety  occupied  the  Malvern  Hills  on  the  confines  of 
Worcestershire ;  but  here  the  flocks  have  likewise  become 
a  mixture  of  various  races.  In  Shropshire  were  several 
varieties  of  the  same  hornless  sheep,  inhabiting  the  different 

160  THE  SHEEP. 

forests  and  commons.  The  Chum  Forest  breed  had  wool 
weighing  from  2  Ib.  to  3  Ib.  the  fleece ;  and  the  Shawberry 
breed,  sometimes  called  the  Tadpole,  from  its  diminutive 
size,  had  wool  of  extraordinary  tenuity  and  softness.  The 
mere  remnants  of  these  and  other  varieties  are  now  only  to 
be  found ;  the  admixture  of  the  races  of  the  lower  country, 
or  of  the  mountain  breeds  of  Wales,  having  nearly  obliterated 
the  former  distinctions. 

Thus,  the  finest-woolled  Sheep  of  the  British  Islands  may 
be  said  to  be  extinct  as  a  breed.  Their  former  value,  arising 
from  the  adaptation  of  their  wool  to  the  manufacture  of 
native  cloth,  has  been  lost.  Commerce  now  supplies  us  with 
wool  more  adapted  to  the  purposes  of  the  clothier ;  and  other 
native  races  afford  a  material  better  suited,  by  the  length 
and  strength  of  its  filaments,  to  the  class  of  manufactures  in 
which  the  combing  wools  are  employed.  These  longer- 
woolled  Sheep  are  likewise  fitted  to  yield  a  larger  return  to 
the  breeder  who  has  artificial  food  at  command  ;  and  hence 
the  disappearance  of  the  fine-woolled  Sheep  of  the  western 
counties,  is  merely  the  result  of  the  better  cultivation  of  the 
country,  and  of  changes  in  the  channels  of  commerce  and 
manufacturing  industry. 


Of  the  breeds  of  Short-woolled  Sheep  which  formerly  in- 
habited the  mountains,  downs,  forests,  and  less  fertile  dis- 
tricts of  the  country,  some,  it  has  been  seen,  were  distin- 
guished by  being  of  small  size,  by  being  mostly  destitute  of 
horns,  and  by  having  the  legs  and  faces  white  ;  and  to  this 
class  is  to  be  referred  the  beautiful  little  breed  of  Hereford- 
shire, and  other  districts  west  of  the  Severn,  already  men- 
tioned. But  another  class  of  breeds,  still  more  diffused,  is 
distinguished  by  the  individuals  having  the  legs  and  faces  of 
a  dark  colour,  and,  in  most  cases,  by  the  presence  of  horns 


in  both  sexes.  Under  this  class  is  comprehended  the  Black- 
faced  Heath  Breed,  which,  it  has  been  seen,  inhabits  the  cen- 
tral chain  of  bleak  mountains  which  stretch  from  the  borders 
of  Scotland  southwards.  This  breed  has  large  spiral  horns, 
has  the  face  and  limbs  covered  with  black  hair,  and  has  a 
moderately  short,  yet  harsh  and  shaggy  fleece.  But  these 
characters,  proper  to  the  race  in  the  more  elevated  moun- 
tains which  it  inhabits,  yield  to  the  influence  of  external 
agents,  so  that,  as  we  recede  from  the  wilder  country,  a 
change  appears  in  the  form  and  aspect  of  the  animals,  and  in 
the  properties  of  the  wool.  Westward  of  the  central  moun- 
tains, in  the  counties  of  Westmoreland  and  Cumberland, 
the  wool  becomes  more  soft,  and  the  form  of  the  animals  less 
robust.  In  the  Yorkshire  Wolds,  to  which  the  same  race 
formerly  extended,  there  was  an  equal  deviation  from  the 
parent  type  ;  and  still  more  in  the  commons  and  forests  of 
Derbyshire,  Staffordshire,  and  other  inland  counties.  As  we 
approach  to  the  confines  of  Wales,  the  Black-faced  breeds 
approximate  more  to  the  characters  of  the  Sheep  of  the 
higher  Welsh  mountains,  the  wool  becoming  more  soft.  Ap- 
proaching to  the  Welsh  type  are  the  Delamere  Forest  Breed 
in  the  county  of  Cheshire,  and  the  Morfe  Common  Breed  in 
the  county  of  Shropshire.  The  latter  inhabited  a  country  of 
limited  extent  near  Bridgenorth,  on  the  Severn ;  and,  until 
our  own  times,  was  noted  for  the  fineness  of  its  wool.  A 
similar  race  extended  southward  through  Herefordshire, 
which,  from  the  delicacy  and  softness  cf  its  wool,  was  reck- 
oned little  inferior  to  the  Ryeland  itself.  Turning  to  the 
great  chalk  districts  of  England,  occupying  the  south-eastern 
parts  of  the  island,  there  were  likewise  numerous  varieties 
of  Short-woolled  Sheep,  in  some  of  which  the  horns,  and  even 
the  dark  colour  of  the  face  and  limbs,  disappeared.  In  this 
class  are  the  Old  Norfolk,  still  inhabiting  the  heaths  of  Nor- 
folk and  Cambridge,  the  Old  Wiltshire,  the  Old  Berkshire,  the 
Hampshire,  and  numerous  minor  varieties,  which  formerly 
possessed  the  various  commons,  and  heaths  of  this  part  of 


IC'J  TIIK  Nil  UK  I'. 

Kngland.      I  hit,  of  all  these  varieties,    m»\v  the  most,  ini|MHM 
ant  and  generally  diffused,  is  that  which   inhabits  the  range 
of  chalky  hills  of  Sussex,  commonly  termed  the  South  |)owns 
The  South  Downs  of  Sussex   consist  of  a  r.-n^c  of  low 
chalky  hills,  of  live  or  six  miles  in  breadth,   si  retching  along 
ihe  coast  upwards  of  sixty  miles,  an  1  passing  into  the  chalky 
lauds  of  Hants  on  the  west.     In  contact  with   this  range  of 
hills,  is  a  tract  of  low  cultivated  ground,  which  is  usually 
connected  with  the  Down  farms,  although  many  of  the  latter 
have   no  vale   or   tlal  land  attached.       The   herbage  of  these 
hills  is  short.,  but  well  adapted  for  the  keeping  of  Sheep,  of 
which  vast  numbers  have,  in  every  known  period,  occupied 
the  pastures.     Whilst  the  dry  ness  of  the  air,   the   moderate 
elevation  of  the  land,  and  consequent  mildness  of  the  climate, 
are  all  eminently  favourable  to  the  rearing  of  a  race4  of  I><>\\  n 
or  Mountain   Sheep,  the  contact  of  the  cultivated    country 
alVords  the  means  of  supplying  artificial  food  in  due  quantity. 
It  is  this  combination  of  favourable  circumstances  which  has 
rendered    these    calcareous   hills    capable    of   Supporting    a 
greater  number  of  Sheep   than   perhaps  any  tract  of  similar 
fertility  in  the  country,  and  has  afforded  the  means  to   the 
breeders  of  applying  the  resources  of  artificial  feeding  to 
their  improvement.    The  original  breed  of  the  Sussex  Downs 
was  not  superior  to  that  of  many  other  districts  of  the  Chalk- 
formation  ;  but  the  means  of  supplying  the  animals  with  arti- 
ficial food,  which  tl  raphical   situation  of  this  long  and 
narrow    chain    of  hills    in   contact    with   the    richer    country 
afforded,  aided  the  breeders  in  applying  to  the  improvement  of 
I  he  race  a  system   of  breeding  and    feeding,  which   has   ren- 
dered   the    South    Down    Urccd    the   most   esteemed   in   the 
countries  suited  to  it  of  all  the  Short -woolled  Sheep  of  Mug- 

The  native  breed  of  the  South  Down  hills  was  of  the 
smaller  kinds  of  Sheep,  with  light  fore-quarters,  narrow 
diesis,  long  necks,  and  long,  though  not  coarse,  limbs.  The 
\vool  was  short,  tine,  and  curling,  although  not  equalling  in 

rur  soi  ni  .  i>  u  ; 

ih'i  .1    horillo-. 

Ot'    tho     \\OStoril     I'OWltios,     uor     ON  011     thai 

s   ol'  thv'   ohtor   tOTtttl    aiul    romi 

ostitnto  i  .   .it   k-aM  up   I  .'('  \\  hu-h  \NO 

ha\o  A.  ablo  (hat    tho  ohk 

pottos  .  ••.  :  ..  •     N  ..     ..  :  .        iimo 

knul    ot    ooiui(r\  I'ho    taoos    aiul    hul^s^^l-l^<    iv>\v-t\\l    \\i(h 

t'l.u  .  .1   (ruili'iuN    i'\isU'il  in  (hv-  v'Mi.u-  (\scic  iv  .r> 

;<>  flu-  s.i 

UTU    N.uitli     I\'\N  u     i;i\\',l    is  t«  ,«t    horns   m 

tlu»  in.i'.,  ,  ,-    aiul   L  >lu-'u\    -rax  . 

(lu-  IHM\  i-K»M«l>  ,v\  c\\\\  \\  ith  slu-rl  .iiul  ,  iirhu-:   >>  ot»l 

N\  Ink-  (lu-  UM-MI  ,'('  (lu-  oKK-r  luvt'vl  lu-.-u  JMV^I  >  ,•,!, 

tllO  tOO  great    li^'hliu   .--    ol    llu-    f\>t\-  ^ii.iru-rs    kvn    , 

rt'v-toil,  tho  ohost  lins   boon  \\iiloiuul,  (lio   baok  aiul  loins  h.-i\o 

luvonio   broiiilor,   uiul    (ho  ribs   im»ro   i-ui'NOil;   aiul    (lio  trunk 

UIOIV    S\  »  .il    aiul    i-oiup.u  (  riio 

lunbs  h:i\o  boooino  UUM\-  slu>rt   \\itli  to  (lu-  h 

in  otluT  \\.M\U.  du-  boil\  h.r.  ..>•  \\iili  rotation 

bo  UM  iitni's      rtu-  uook  r«tfdik»  the  Mrohed  ftM-ni  vii.u-aott>rw- 

't  (lu-  oklor  rai-o,  but   has  luviMilo  l\li»iv  slu-r(         1 
oi>nios  uoll    l'on\ju\l    iiju-n    (lu-   t'aoo.   aiul    ConniiuKoN  in  a  (uii 
UU   I  ho  torohoail         I'ho    Mllmal      aro    ihvilo    in  oinp«M-.s. 

aiul   snitk-il    U)    ili*'    1;  ^    Q!    th»'    I'^I'l.   ^  hu-h  ta  y^t  geitt* 

ra!l\    pm-Mioil  in  (hv  I  lu-\    aro  oapablo  ol   Mil 

on    (lu-    slioi-t    horba:;<-    »•{'    (lu  .,1    v  u-kl 

\vhiehlwsiil\Yji\sboonhohliii  -         I.KUMI       I'lu- 

ai-o    usually     tallonoil    at(oi     haMi.-     l-oaiploto»l    llioir 

>oar    .ililuui.'h  nulnuluaU    ol    snpoi  UM    (k  ,  Ls  aro  otlon  .va,l\ 

at   (ho  a-o   ot    about    liltoi-u    month*  ,    N>  lu 

I  ho  ohlor  bivml  v>oro   rarolx   Uilk-^l  until   tlio\   hail  ooinplotoiJ 

thoir  think  o,  jimvoil  ai  their  fourth    yoar 

It  is  to  (ho  otVoots  o!   oar.-t'ul  oulturo    mulor  t'a\ourablo  oir 
onmstanoos,  that  tho  hivtnl  ot'  (lu-  South   lK-\\ 

-  i  iorit\   NN  hu-h  u  has  !io»iuuvtl  o\or  all  du-  ol  n  i 

\\oolk\l  MUVJ.  ol   tho  uiullatul  aiul  southorn  lountu-s  (.|    I   . 

164  THE  SHEEP. 

land.  With  the  advancement  of  tillage,  and  the  larger  pro- 
duction of  turnips  and  other  succulent  plants,  the  breeders  of 
Sussex  had  the  means  of  treating  their  animals  well  while 
advancing  to  maturity  ;  while  increased  attention  was  given 
to  the  selection  of  the  breeding  parents,  and  to  the  conse- 
quent calling  forth  of  those  properties  of  form  which  evince 
the  tendency  to  arrive  at  early  maturity  of  muscle  and  fat- 
ness. The  improvement  of  the  South  Down  Breed  began 
about  the  period  of  the  American  war,  but  it  received  its 
chief  impulse  with  the  commencement  of  the  contest  with 
the  French  Republic,  and  has  continued  progressive  until 
the  present  time.  Amongst  the  individuals  most  distinguished 
as  the  improvers  of  this  breed,  was  the  late  John  Ellman. 
This  gentleman  began  his  important  experiments  about  the 
year  1780,  when  he  acquired  possession  of  the  farm  of  Glynde, 
near  Lewis,  in  the  county  of  Sussex.  He  remained  in  this 
farm  more  than  fifty  years,  during  which  period  he  directed 
his  attention,  in  an  especial  degree,  to  the  improvement  of 
the  native  Sheep  of  the  Downs.  He  pursued  his  system  of 
progressive  change  with  judgment,  perseverance,  and  zeal ; 
and  he  must  be  regarded  as  one  of  the  most  skilful  and  suc- 
cessful breeders  whom  this  country  has  produced.  He  dis- 
played none  of  the  too  narrow  selfishness  which,  it  is  to  be 
regretted,  appeared  in  the  proceedings  of  his  distinguished 
contemporary  Mr  Bakewell.  He  freely  communicated  the 
details  of  his  valuable  practice,  and  shewed  himself  to  be 
entirely  exempt  from  illiberal  prejudices.  He  did  not  ex- 
perience the  necessity  of  creating,  as  it  were,  a  breed,  but 
was  contented  to  adopt  the  basis  which  was  afforded  him  in 
the  one  already  naturalized  in  the  Sussex  Downs.  He  did 
not  carry  any  of  his  principles  of  breeding  to  an  extreme,  but 
acted  under  the  guidance  of  temperance  and  judgment.  He 
sought  for  the  properties  of  health  and  soundness  of  constitu- 
tion, as  well  as  for  those  of  external  form,  and  facility  of 
fattening  ;  and  therefore  he  did  not,  like  Bakewell,  confine 
himself  rigidly  to  the  blood  of  his  own  stock,  but  resorted  to 


others,  that  he  might  infuse  fresh  vigour  into  his  flocks,  and 
prevent  them  from  becoming  too  delicate.  His  aim,  in  short, 
was  the  really  useful ;  and,  though  he  reaped  the  due  reward 
of  his  enterprise  and  skill,  it  was  never  obtained  by  arts  of 
any  kind,  by  deception,  or  useless  ostentation.  His  charac- 
ter throughout  was  one  of  sincerity  and  manly  simplicity  ; 
and  it  is  pleasing  to  add,  that  he  closed  a  long  and  honour- 
able life,  respected  and  regretted  by  all  that  came  under  the 
influence  of  his  social  virtues.  He  died  in  1832,  having 
entered  into  his  eightieth  year. 

Contemporaries  and  successors  of  Mr  Ellman  have  pursued, 
with  deserved  success,  the  cultivation  of  the  South  Down 
Breed,  which  may  now  be  said  to  be  brought  to  all  the  per- 
fection, with  respect  to  early  maturity  and  fattening  power, 
of  which  it  seems  to  be  susceptible.  The  system  of  selling 
and  hiring  out  rams  was  early  adopted,  and  is  now  exten- 
sively pursued  by  eminent  breeders,  who  devote  attention  to 
the  rearing  of  rams  as  an  especial  branch  of  their  profession. 
This  is  a  division  of  labour  highly  conducive  to  the  perfecting 
of  the  breed,  and  the  extending  of  it  in  its  state  of  purity  and 
highest  cultivation  to  different  parts  of  the  country.  But  the 
breeders  of  rams  naturally  rear  the  animals,  under  favourable 
circumstances  with  respect  to  the  supplies  of  food  ;  and  thus 
a  tendency  is  produced  to  an  enlargement  of  size  beyond  that 
characteristic  of  a  breed  suited  to  a  district  of  downs  and 
short  herbage.  The  appropriate  localities  of  the  South  Down 
Breed  are  those  which  are  suited  to  the  lighter  kinds  of 
Sheep.  To  the  richer  and  moister  plains  are  adapted  other 
breeds,  which  produce  a  long  and  heavy  fleece,  and  are  the 
native  inhabitants  of  districts  of  abundant  herbage.  Such 
are  the  Leicester,  and  other  varieties  of  Long-woolled  Sheep, 
to  be  afterwards  described.  Doubtless,  the  South  Down 
Breed  may.  by  the  stimulus  of  artificial  food,  and  by  being 
naturalized  in  a  country  fertile  in  grasses,  become  as  large 
as  the  Leicester  and  other  Long-woolled  breeds  of  the  plains ; 
and  it  has  been  long  making  progress  to  this  condition  in  the 

166  THE  SHEEP, 

hands  of  the  principal  Sussex  breeders.     But  the  change  is 
one  which,  in  proportion  as  it  may  adapt  the  breed  to  a  richer 
country,  may  render  it  less   suited  to  those  more  dry  and 
steril  tracts  over  which  it  has  been  spread,  and  in  which 
hardiness  and  soundness  of  constitution,  and  the  capacity  of 
subsisting  on  scanty  food,  are  properties  to  be  regarded  as 
much  as  the  disposition  to  arrive  at  early  maturity  and  fatten 
quickly.    Nevertheless,  the  past  efforts  of  the  Sussex  breeders 
to  improve  the  breed,  by  rearing  it  in  a  more  artificial  con- 
dition than  is  suited  to  it,  have  hitherto  been  eminently  suc- 
cessful in  rendering  it  of  more  economical  value.    The  earlier 
improvers  of  this  breed  paid  especial  attention  to  the  fineness 
of  the  wool,  which  then  bore  a  high  price  for  the  purposes  of 
the  clothier  ;  but  attention  having  been  insensibly  directed  to 
other  properties,  the  staple  of  the  wool  became  longer,  and 
the  filaments  less  fine,  and  now,  by  changes  in  the  demand, 
from  causes  before  adverted  to,  the  relative  value  of  this 
kind  of  wool  greatly  declined ;  and,  in  the  cultivation  of  the 
breed,  the  production  of  fine  and  delicate  wool  is  everywhere 
regarded  as  secondary  to  the  properties  of  form,  and  the 
value  of  the  animals  for  food. 

The  South  Down  Breed  has  spread  over  a  great  tract  of 
country,  and  either  superseded  the  pre-existing  varieties,  or 
been  so  mingled  with  them  in  blood,  as  to  have  modified  all 
their  characters.  But  it  is  in  an  especial  degree  in  the 
countries  of  the  chalk-formation,  that  it  has  been  generally 
established.  It  has  superseded  the  ancient  breeds  of  Berk- 
shire, Hampshire,  and  Wiltshire ;  and,  extending  into  the 
counties  to  the  westward,  has  greatly  circumscribed  the 
limits  of  the  horned  Dorsets.  It  has  spread  from  the  wastes  of 
Surrey  to  the  heaths  of  Norfolk,  displacing  the  ancient  breeds, 
or  mixing  with  them,  so  as  to  obliterate  their  former  distinc- 
tions. It  has  been  carried  beyond  the  countries  of  the  chalk- 
formation,  although  in  decreasing  numbers.  It  has  extended 
into  Herefordshire,  and  partially  into  Devonshire  and  the 
lower  parts  of  Wales,  and  northwards  even  to  Westmoreland 


and  Cumberland.  But,  beyond  the  limits  of  the  countries  of 
the  true  chalk,  or  of  the  calcareous  district  in  contact  with 
the  chalk,  it  is  only  found  occupying  tracts  of  narrow  extent, 
or  is  employed  as  a  means  of  improving  the  flocks  of  the 
heaths,  commons,  or  .other  tracts  which  are  still  occupied  by 
races  of  smaller  Short-woolled  Sheep.  It  has  been  introduced 
into  Scotland,  and  partially  cultivated  with  some  success  ; 
but  it  has  made  no  general  progress  in  that  country,  and  does 
not  seem  calculated  to  displace  the  hardier  mountain  breeds 
already  acclimated. 

The  wide  extension  of  a  breed  so  greatly  improved  as  the 
South  Down,  must  be  regarded  as  having  been  in  a  singular 
degree  beneficial.  Although  itself  the  native  of  a  dry  coun- 
try, and  therefore,  it  may  be  supposed,  imperfectly  suited  to 
a  humid  soil  and  atmosphere,  yet  its  range  is  not  confined  to 
very  narrow  limits.  It  is  naturally  of  a  healthy  constitution, 
patient  of  scanty  herbage,  and,  from  the  closeness  of  its 
fleece,  fitted  to  resist  changes  of  temperature.  Further,  like 
every  other  race  of  Sheep,  it  possesses  the  faculty  of  becom- 
ing inured  to  new  conditions  of  soil  and  temperature ;  and 
experience,  accordingly,  has  shewn,  that  it  may  be  gradually 
naturalized  in  countries  very  different  from  that  from  which 
it  has  been  derived.  By  crossing,  it  can  be  readily  amalga- 
mated with  all  the  varieties  of  Sheep  which  can  be  referred 
to  the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed  as  their  type  ;  and  it  can  be 
made  to  improve  the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed  itself,  in  situa- 
tions in  which  hardiness,  and  adaptation  to  a  rude  climate  and 
country,  are  not  more  to  be  regarded  than  the  improvement 
of  the  form  and  fleece. 

The  wool  of  the  South  Down  Sheep  weighs,  when  washed, 
about  3  Ib.  the  fleece ;  but,  in  some  of  the  more  highly-fed 
flocks  of  the  lower  countries,  its  weight  is  now  4  Ib.  or  more. 
The  staple,  or  length  of  the  filaments,  is  from  2|  to  4  inches, 
while  that  of  the  older  breed  rarely  exceeded  2  inches,  and 
more  frequently  fell  short  of  that  length.  The  wool,  although 
fine  and  short,  is  somewhat  harsh  and  brittle,  and  never  was 

168  THE  SHEEP. 

well  fitted  for  the  manufacture  of  the  finer  woollen  cloths, 
requiring  always  a  large  admixture  of  the  softer  wools  of 
home  or  foreign  growth.  But  the  war  with  France  having 
at  length  excluded  the  manufacturers  of  England  from  most 
of  the  foreign  markets  which  supplied  the  raw  material,  the 
woollen  fabrics  of  the  country  were  chiefly  prepared  from  na- 
tive wool.  This  circumstance  gave  a  high  relative  value,  not 
only  to  the  South  Down  wool,  but  to  all  the  finer  and  shorter 
kinds  produced  in  the  country,  as  that  of  the  Norfolk,  the 
Wiltshire,  the  Dorset,  the  Ryeland,  the  Cheviot,  and  the 
other  varieties  of  Short-woolled  Sheep  which  then  abounded 
in  the  country.  But,  when  the  memorable  events  of  1814 
opened  all  the  ancient  marts  of  trade,  wool  of  superior  fine'? 
ness  was  obtained,  in  the  quantity  required,  from  the  counr 
tries  of  Europe  in  which  the  Merino  race  was  cultivated,  and, 
after  a  time,  from  the  boundless  wilds  of  the  Australian  colo- 
nies. This  produced  an  immediate  change  in  the  market- 
price  of  all  the  finer  wools  formerly  employed  in  the  manu- 
facture of  woollen  cloth,  and  at  length  caused  them  to  be 
applied  to  other  purposes.  In  place  of  being  used  for  the 
manufacture  of  woollen  cloth,  they  were  extensively  employed 
for  the  lighter  and  looser  fabrics  classed  under  the  name  of 
Worsteds.  This  difference  in  the  destination  of  the  shorter 
wools,  coupled  with  the  diminution  of  the  market-price,  has 
produced  an  important  change  in  the  cultivation  of  Sheep  in 
this  country.  It  has  led  to  an  extension  in  the  number  of 
the  Long-woolled  Sheep,  and  a  decrease  in  the  number  of 
those  cultivated  for  the  fineness  of  their  wool ;  and,  in  the 
case  of  the  latter,  has  caused  attention  to  be  directed  rather 
to  the  weight  of  the  fleece,  than  to  those  properties  which  fit 
it  for  the  manufacture  of  cloth.  All  the  lesser  kinds  of 
Sheep,  as  the  Ryeland,  Morfe  Common,  and  Dean  Forest 
breeds,  producing  a  fine  and  delicate  wool,  are  either  extinct, 
or  have  lost  their  distinctive  characters  by  intermixture  with 
other  races ;  and,  throughout  entire  tracts  of  country,  which, 
not  more  than  twenty-five  years  ago,  were  occupied  by  Short- 


woolled  Sheep,  not  a  single  flock  of  this  kind  is  to  be  found. 
The  South  Down  Breed,  it  has  been  seen,  has  been  exten- 
sively substituted  for  many  of  the  older  breeds ;  but  the 
Long-woolled  Sheep  of  the  lower  country  have  likewise  been 
progressively  extending,  and  have  either  displaced  the  Short- 
woolled  varieties  altogether,  or,  by  means  of  crossing,  changed 
their  character  with  respect  to  the  production  of  wool. 


The  breeds  of  Sheep  hitherto  described  are  proper  to  the 
mountains,  moors,  downs,  and  less  cultivated  districts,  and 
most  of  them  produce  a  short  wool  fitted  for  preparation  by 
the  card.  The  breeds  that  remain  to  be  described  are  of 
entirely  different  characters,  with  respect  to  form  and  the 
nature  of  the  fleece.  They  are  of  large  size,  arid,  until  im- 
proved by  art,  of  coarse  form ;  and  the  wool  which  they 
yield  is  long,  thick,  and  tough  in  the  filaments,  of  inferior 
felting  properties,  but  tolerably  soft  to  the  touch,  and  rarely 
approaching  to  the  harsh  and  wiry  character  of  hair.  This 
kind  of  wool,  from  the  strength  and  toughness  of  its  fibres, 
is  unsuited  for  being  broken  into  fragments  by  the  action  of 
the  card,  and  is,  accordingly,  never  prepared  except  for 
worsted  yarn,  and  by  the  assorting  of  the  comb.  If  the 
British  Islands  are  inferior  to  other  countries  in  the  produc- 
tion of  the  finer  felting  wools,  they  are  superior  to  any  in 
the  case  of  those  adapted  to  the  worsted  manufacture.  The 
long  wools  of  the  plains  of  England  have  in  every  known 
period  been  of  the  highest  estimation.  They  were  early 
carried  to  other  countries,  and  now  produce  fabrics  which 
are  diffused  throughout  the  markets  of  the  world. 

The  Long-woolled  Sheep  of  England  are  the  natives  of  the 
richer  plains,  although  they  have  long  been  carried  to  all 
parts  of  the  country  where  agriculture  has  provided  the 
means  of  supplying  artificial  food.  The  first  and  most  ex- 

1  70  THE  SHEEP. 


tensive  locality  of  this  class  of  Sheep  is  the  fine  tract  of  new 
red  sandstone  which,  extending  southward  from  the  lower 
valley  of  the  Tees,  forms  the  fertile  valleys  of  York  and 
Trent ;  and  which,  extending  from  the  vale  of  Trent  to  the 
mouth  of  the  Severn,  and  thence  northwards,  includes  the 
greater  part  of  the  counties  of  Nottingham,  Leicester,  War- 
wick, Worcester,  and  a  part  of  Stafford  and  Lancaster;  com- 
prehending a  tract  of  the  highest  fertility  with  respect  to  the 
production  of  the  grasses  and  other  herbage  plants.  But 
connected  with  this  tract,  as  a  locality  of  the  Long-woolled 
Sheep,  are  districts  of  the  lias  and  oolite  formations,  com- 
prehending the  counties  of  Rutland,  Northampton,  Glouces- 
ter, part  of  Oxford,  and  others,  to  which  may  be  added  the 
lower  parts  of  Devonshire,  and  the  valleys  of  the  larger 
rivers  in  different  parts  of  the  country.  The  second  locality 
of  the  Long-woolled  Sheep  comprehends  the  flat  alluvial 
tracts  of  fens  on  the  eastern  coasts  and  the  shores  of  Kent. 
Conformably  to  this  division,  the  Long-woolled  Sheep  may 
be  arranged  in  two  general  groups  ;  first,  those  of  the  inland 
plains,  represented  by  the  Teeswater,  Leicester,  and  other 
varieties  ;  and,  secondly,  those  of  the  fens  and  alluvial  coun- 
try, represented  by  the  breeds  of  Lincolnshire  and  Romney 

Of  the  breeds  which  have  been  mentioned,  those  of  the 
marshes  and  fens  are  the  most  marked  and  peculiar  in  their 
characters.  The  rich  and  marshy  tract  of  land,  extending 
from  the  Humber  southwards,  through  Lincolnshire  into 
Norfolk,  Cambridge,  and  the  adj  oining  country,  is  a  fitting 
habitation  for  the  coarser  and  heavier  kinds  of  Sheep.  The 
lower  part  of  Lincolnshire,  accordingly,  and  the  fertile  tracts 
in  connexion  with  it,  are  inhabited  by  a  race  remarkable,  be- 
yond any  other,  for  their  size,  their  coarse  and  massy  forms, 
and  the  length  of  their  wool.  The  type  of  these  breeds  has 
been  termed  the  Old  Lincoln,  which  requires,  however,  to 
be  distinguished  from  the  race  of  mixed  lineage  which  now 
inhabits  the  same  country. 


The  Old  Lincoln  Sheep,  of  which  the  remnants  now  only 
exist,  are  destitute  of  horns,  are  of  coarse  form,  have  large 
limbs  and  hoofs,  hollow  flanks,  and  flat  sides.     Their  long 
unctuous  wool  almost  hangs  to  the  ground,  and  they  have  a 
large  tuft  on  the  forehead.     Their  fleece  weighs  from  10  to 
12  lb.,  and,  in  the  rams  and  fattened  wethers,  often  greatly 
exceeds  this  weight.    They  fatten  slowly,  and  consume  much 
food,  but  are  valued  by  the  butchers  for  their  tendency  to 
produce  internal  fat.     About  seventy  years  ago,  when  the 
New  Leicester,  or  Dishley  breed  of  Bake  well,  became  dis- 
tinguished, the  Lincolnshire  breeders  resorted  to  this  stock 
as  a  means  of  communicating  to  their  own  the  property  of 
early  fattening,  for  which  the  new  breed  was  eminent.    This 
system  of  crossing  was  carried  on  until  the  close  of  the  last 
century,  and  has  been  continued  up  to  the  present  time,  so 
that  the  old  breed  is  scarcely  any  where  to  be  found  of  un- 
mixed blood.     The  figure  given  in  my  larger  work  is  taken 
from  a  flock  which  has  been  maintained  perfectly  pure  from 
a  period  previous  to  that  in  which  the  Dishley  blood  was  in- 
troduced.    The  worthy  owner,  amidst  all  the  changes  of  the 
times,  has  continued  to  maintain  the  stock  which  his  fore- 
fathers had  cultivated.     By  the  continued  breeding  from  the 
same  blood,  this  particular  flock  has  doubtless  suffered  de- 
terioration ;  but  it  retains  all  the  essential  characters  of  the 
ancient  race,  and  presents,  perhaps,  the  only  living  example 
of  the  most  remarkable  breed  of  Sheep  which  the  British 
Islands  have  produced. 

The  crossing  of  the  Old  Lincoln  with  the  Dishley  blood,  was 
not  at  first  effected  without  great  opposition,  and  a  contest 
arose  between  the  supporters  of  the  ancient  breed  and  the 
new,  which  lasted  for  more  than  a  quarter  of  a  century.  The 
advocates  of  the  older  breed  contended  for  its  greater  hardi- 
ness, its  better  adaptation  to  the  rich  pastures  of  the  country, 
the  enormous  weight  to  which  individuals  could  be  raised, 
and,  above  all,  their  unrivalled  fleece.  On  the  other  hand, 
the  earlier  maturity,  and  the  greater  aptitude  to  fatten,  of  the 

172  THE  SHEEP. 

new  breed,  were  considerations  urged  by  those  who  favoured 
the  system  of  crossing  which  had  been  resorted  to  ;  and  it 
was  contended,  that,  although  the  weight  of  individual  fleeces 
was  diminished,  the  value  of  wool  produced  on  the  acre  was 
increased,  from  the  greater  number  of  animals  that  could  be 
maintained  on  the  same  space.* 

*  A  correspondence  on  this  subject,  in  the  year  1788,  has  been  preserved, 
between  Mr  Chaplin,  a  distinguished  breeder  of  the  Old  Lincolns,  and  Mr 
Bakewell  of  Dishley,  which  is  curious,  as  shewing  the  angry  feelings  of  the 
time,  and  bringing  before  us,  and  in  his  own  words,  one  so  distinguished  for 
what  he  has  done,  and  so  little  known  by  any  thing  he  has  written, — Mr  Bake- 
well.  It  had  been  proposed,  it  seems,  that  a  show  of  rams  should  take  place  at 
Partney,  for  the  purpose  of  comparing  together  the  old  and  new  breeds.  Mr 
Bakewell  had  declined  allowing  his  rams  to  be  seen  until  they  were  sorted,  as 
it  is  termed,  but  appears  to  have  thought  that  there  would  be  no  great  harm 
in  taking  a  peep  at  his  rival's,  even  in  their  state  of  disorder.  Mr  Chaplin  re- 
senting the  proceeding,  thus  addresses  his  wily  opponent : — "  The  extraordinary 
art  made  use  of  in  the  exhibition  of  your  stock  at  Dishley,  points  out,  in  the 
strongest  manner,  the  impropriety  of  shewing  it  in  a  disorderly  state  ;  and  after 
my  refusal  on  the  21st  instant  to  let  you  see  my  sheep  before  they  were  collected 
and  sorted  at  home,  I  did  not  expect  to  hear  of  your  meanly  sneaking  into  my 
pastures  at  Wrangle,  on  the  24th,  with  two  other  people,  driving  my  sheep 
into  the  fold,  and  examining  them.  Such  unwarrantable  conduct  can  only  be 
accounted  for  by  your  great  anxiety  about  the  show  of  rams  at  Partney,  near 
Spilsby,  on  the  18th  of  September,  which  was  proposed  for  the  purpose  of  mak- 
ing the  comparison  between  those  bred  from  your  sheep  and  the  original  breed 
of  the  county.  The  small  sheep  that  have  no  cross  of  the  Durham  kind,  which 
you  have  had  the  address  to  impose  upon  the  world,  without  size,  without 
length,  and  without  wool,  I  have  always  held  to  be  unprofitable  animals  ;  but 
that  I  may  not  appear  to  be  too  tenacious  of  my  own  opinion,  I  hope  you  will 
produce  them  at  Partney,  on  the  18th  September  next,  to  meet  the  Lincoln- 
shire sheep,  where  there  will  be  many  better  judges  than  ourselves  to  decide  on 
their  merits." 

The  reply  is  characteristic.  "  On  my  return  home  on  Tuesday  last,  I  saw 
your  letter  addressed  to  me  of  the  26th  of  August,  in  the  Liecester  paper  of 
the  6th  instant,  in  which  you  are  pleased  to  notice  the  extraordinary  art  made 
use  of  in  the  exhibition  of  the  stock  at  Dishley  ;  which  you  have  seen  at  several 
different  times.  Surely  you  cannot  say  you  have  observed  any  unfair  practices, 
or  that  you  was  ever  denied  seeing  what  was  not  engaged  for  the  season,  on 
account  of  their  not  being  sorted,  or  being  in  a  disorderly  state.  At  Ilorncastle, 
on  Thursday  the  21st  of  August,  I  asked  you  if  I  might  see  your  rams  near 
Saltfleet.  You  did  not  say  I  should  not,  but  that  they  were  not  sorted,  and  that 
when  they  were  you  would  be  glad  to  see  me  at  Tathwell.  I  did  not  go  to 
Saltfleet,  but  into  the  marshes,  near  Skegness ;  and  from  thence,  on  the  Satur- 
day afternoon  following,  to  Wrangle  ;  the  next  day,  Sunday  the  24th,  to  Free- 
ston,  where  1  met  with  two  graziers,  with  whom  1  had  not  any  acquaintance 
till  that  day.  They  proposed  on  Monday  to  go  to  Skegness,  and  asked  me  if  I 


The  claims  of  the  modern  breed  in  the  end  prevailed,  and 
the  remarkable  old  race  of  the  fens  was  by  degrees  displaced, 
or  mixed  largely  in  blood  with  the  new  variety.  The  breeders 
of  Lincolnshire  doubtless  consulted  their  immediate  interests, 
in  availing  themselves  of  the  improved  stock  of  Bakewell,  to 
give  at  once  those  qualities  to  their  own  in  which  it  was  defi- 
cient ;  but  at  the  same  time,  great  regret  may  now  be  enter- 
tained, that  the  native  breed  had  not  rather  been  improved 
by  an  application  of  the  principle  of  selection,  than  destroyed 
in  its  distinctive  characters  by  indiscriminate  crossing.  The 
wool  of  the  true  Old  Lincoln  breed  was  altogether  peculiar, 
and  such  as  no  country  in  Europe  produced.  That  of  the 

thought  they  could  see  your  rams.  I  told  them  I  was  informed  on  my  way  to 
and  at  Wrangle,  that  they  might.  We  set  forward  together,  and  called  at  the 
inn  at  Wrangle,  which  I  came  from  the  day  before,  and  there  passed  what  you 
are  pleased  to  term,  my  '  meanly  sneaking  into  your  pastures  on  the  24th.' 
We  asked  a  young  man  if  you  had  any  rams  there  ;  he  informed  us  you  had. 
'  Where  are  they  ? '  'In  the  close  next  the  house.'  '  May  we  see  them  ?'  'Yes.' 
4  Who  would  shew  them  ?'  'I  will.'  From  which  we  supposed  he  had  fre- 
quently shewn  them  to  others.  We  then  alighted  and  went  into  the  close ;  he 
opened  the  pen-gate,  and  we  assisted  him  in  driving  them  in,  about  fourteen 
in  number.  The  age  or  breed  of  any  of  them  I  do  not  know.  From  thence 
we  went  to  the  person  who  has  the  care  of  your  rams,  about  a  mile  and  a-half 
nearer  Skegness,  and  asked  if  we  could  see  them  ;  he  refused  us,  saying  he  had 
received  orders  by  a  letter  from  you  not  to  shew  them  to  any  one.  He  was  then 
asked  if  they  had  not  been  shewn  before.  He  answered  they  had.  '  When  did 
he  receive  the  order  not  to  shew  them  ?'  'On  Saturday  night  last.'  Had  we 
known  this  before,  we  should  not  have  been  guilty  of  what  you  term  '  such  un- 
warrantable conduct.'  I  have  long  made  it  a  rule  not  to  find  fault  with  another 
person's  stock.  Why  should  you  be  so  severe  upon  mine  ?  And  I  now  take 
the  liberty  of  requesting  you  to  explain  what  you  mean  '  by  sheep  without  size, 
without  length,  and  without  wool,'  which  you  say  I  have  had  the  address  to 
impose  upon  the  world  ;  and  of  informing  you  that  I  am  fully  persuaded  there 
are  ten  rams  without  a  cross  of  the  Durham,  or  any  other  kind,  let  for  a  thou- 
sand guineas  more  this  season  than  the  same  number  of  the  '  true  Old  Lincoln- 
shire breed,  of  the  long  staple,'  some  of  these  at  the  highest  prices,  into  the 
counties  of  Lincoln  and  Nottingham  ;  and  to  breeders,  many  of  whom  have 
used  the  Dishley  sort  of  sheep  for  upwards  of  twenty  years,  and  who  have  agreed 
for  some,  and  offer  higher  prices  for  others,  for  future  seasons,  than  they  have 
yet  given,  and  may  surely  be  supposed  capable  of  knowing  the  value  of  what 
'  you  have  always  held  to  be  unprofitable  animals.'  Did  they  not  find  their 
interest  in  so  doing,  would  they  persevere  ?  The  address  must  be  extraordi- 
nary, indeed,  that  could  impose  upon  them  against  their  interest  and  so 

174  THE  SHEEP. 

New  Leicester  breed  is  shorter  and  finer;  but  it  wants  the 
toughness,  softness,  and  length  of  fibre  which  distinguish 
the  other,  and  which,  could  it  now  be  obtained,  could  be  used 
with  great  advantage  in  various  worsted  manufactures.  It 
cannot  be  doubted,  that  the  same  principles  of  breeding  which 
enabled  Mr  Bakewell  to  form  a  new  breed,  could  have  been 
applied  by  the  Lincolnshire  breeders  to  remove  the  defects  of 
the  native  race,  and  call  forth  its  useful  properties. 

But  although  the  Old  Lincoln  breed  is  now  almost  extinct 
in  the  pure  state,  the  breed  of  mixed  lineage  which  has  suc- 
ceeded to  it  in  the  countries  of  the  fens  often  retains  much 
of  its  peculiarities.  In  this  rich  district  are  yet  to  be  found 
the  largest  sheep  of  the  Island,  and,  it  is  believed,  of  Europe, 
with  fleeces  superior  in  weight  and  value  to  any  other.  They 
do  not  fatten  so  quickly  as  the  New  Leicesters,  but  they 
arrive  at  great  weight,  and  pay  the  graziers  well,  on  the  fer- 
tile pastures  which  are  proper  to  them.  The  wethers  are  fre- 
quently killed  at  the  enormous  weight  of  50  or  60  Ib.  the 
quarter.  Great  numbers  of  these  large  sheep  may  be  seen 
pasturing  on  the  rich  flats  on  the  Thames,  for  the  supply  of 
the  London  market.  The  mutton  may  not  be  sufficiently  de- 
licate for  the  palates  of  the  opulent,  but  for  the  supplies  of 
the  numerous  population  of  labourers  in  our  large  cities,  who 
are  contented  with  wholesome,  nourishing,  and  cheap  food,  the 
mutton  of  the  countries  of  the  fens  is  as  much  valued  as  any 
other  in  the  kingdom.  It  is  of  national  as  well  as  of  private 
concern,  therefore,  that  the  modern  Lincoln  breed  should  be 
preserved;  and  he  would  merit  well  of  the  country  who  should 
devote  attention  to  its  improvement. 


The  Sheep  of  these  Islands,  it  has  been  seen,  may  be  di- 
vided into  two  general  classes  :  1.  The  smaller  Sheep,  inha- 
biting the  mountains,  moors,  downs,  and  less  fertile  tracts, 


and  producing,  for  the  most  part,  short  wool,  fitted  for  pre- 
paration by  the  card,  arid  the  manufacture  of  cloths  ;  and, 
2.  The  larger  Sheep,  naturalized  in  the  plains,  marshes,  and 
richer  country,  producing  wool  which  is  long  in  the  filaments, 
and  adapted  to  the  manufacture  of  stuffs  termed  worsted. 
With  the  progress  of  cultivation,  and  the  increased  means  of 
supplying  artificial  food,  the  Long-woolled  breeds  have  been 
continually  gaining  in  numbers  upon  the  Short-woolled.  They 
may  be  divided  into  those  which  inhabit  the  fens  and  marshes, 
and  those  which  are  found  in  the  inland  and  drier  country. 
Of  the  former  class,  greatly  the  most  numerous  and  remark- 
able was  the  Old  Lincolnshire  Breed  already  described,  of 
which  the  remnants  only  now  exist  in  the  unmixed  state. 
Another  variety  of  the  same  class  inhabited  a  limited  tract 
of  low  ground  termed  Romney  Marsh,  situated  on  the  south- 
ern coast  of  Kent,  at  the  western  entrance  to  the  Straits  of 

Romney  Marsh  is  a  plain  of  alluvial  land  nearly  on  the 
level  of  the  sea,  protected  from  the  tides  by  dykes  in  the 
manner  of  the  marshy  flats  of  Holland.  It  extends  from 
Hythe  to  the  river  Rother,  about  fourteen  miles  ;  and,  at  its 
broadest  part,  from  Dengeness  to  Appledore,  ten  miles.  It 
is  divided  into  four  districts — namely,  Romney  Marsh  Pro- 
per, which  is  the  largest  and  most  westerly  division  ;  Wai- 
land  Marsh,  the  next  adjoining  to  the  westward  ;  Denge 
Marsh,  with  South-Brooks  on  the  south,  and  Gtiildford  Marsh, 
the  greater  part  of  which  is  in  the  county  of  Sussex,  on  the 
west.  This  tract  was  known  to  the  Anglo-Saxons  \>y  the 
name  of  Merseware  or  Mersewarum,  and  the  inhabitants 
were  designated  by  a  term  signifying  marsh-men  or  fen-men. 
It  was  early  fenced  from  the  overflowings  of  the  sea,  and  the 
conservation  of  the  dykes  and  drainage  was  provided  for  by 
local  laws  and  observances,  which,  so  long  ago  as  the  reign 
of  Henry  III.,  were  denominated  ancient  and  approved  cus- 
toms. The  land  consists  in  part  of  infertile  sand,  gravel,  or 
peat,  but  essentially  of  a  deep  rich  alluvial  clay,  bearing  the' 

176  THE  SHEEP. 

grasses  and  other  herbage  plants  abundantly,  and  never 
having  been  subjected  to  the  action  of  the  plough.  "  It  ys,f> 
says  Leland,  "  a  marvelous  rank  ground  for  fedying  catel, 
b}'  the  reason  that  the  grasse  groweth  plentifully  upon  the 
wose,  sum  tyme  cast  up  there  by  the  se."  The  land  is  sub- 
divided by  rails,  and  deep  ditches  filled  with  stagnant  water. 
There  are  scarcely  any  hedges  or  trees  to  afford  shelter. 
The  roads  are  broad  miry  paths,  rudely  fenced  off  from  the 
marsh,  and  scarcely  to  be  passed  after  heavy  falls  of  rain. 
The  inhabitants  are  few  in  number,  scattered  over  the  flat 
monotonous  surface  in  mean  hamlets  or  villages,  and  mostly 
employed  in  tending  the  numerous  Sheep  by  which  the  ground 
is  depastured.  The  air  is  humid  from  stagnant  water,  and 
the  wealthier  possessors  of  the  farms  reside,  not  in  the 
marshes,  but  on  the  more  elevated  grounds  surrounding 
them  ;  and  the  animals  which  are  reared  or  fattened  on  the 
marsh,  depend  on  the  natural  herbage  which  it  produces. 
The  principal  produce  is  Sheep,  which  are  reared  in  greater 
numbers  than  in  any  similar  space  in  the  kingdom. 

The  ancient  native  Sheep  of  this  district  had  coarse  heads, 
furnished  with  a  tuft  of  wool ;  thick  necks,  long  stout  limbs, 
broad  feet,  narrow  chests,  flat  sides,  and  great  bellies.  They 
were  of  the  larger  class  of  Sheep,  but  yet  fell  short  in  weight 
of  the  heavy-woolled  Sheep  of  the  eastern  counties.  The 
wool  weighed  7  lb.  or  8  lb.,  had  the  usual  qualities  of  long 
wool,  was  moderately  soft,  but  unequal,  and  coarse  on  the 
posterior  parts.  These  Sheep  were  slow  in  fattening,  the 
wethers  being  rarely  fit  for  use  until  they  had  completed 
their  third  year;  but  yet  they  were  favourites  with  the  butch- 
ers, from  their  yielding  a  large  proportion  of  internal  fat  and 
offal.  They  bore  well  the  exposed  maritime  situation  in 
which  they  were  placed,  and  acquired  the  habit  of  avoiding 
the  dangerous  ditches  by  which  the  country  is  intersected. 

The  modern  breed  of  Romney  Marsh,  which  has  extended 
into  other  parts  of  Kent,  still  exhibits  much  of  the  charac- 
ters of  the  ancient  family,  the  individuals  being,  for  the 


most  part,  long-legged,  flat-sided,  and  coarse  in  the  extre- 
mities. But  a  surprising  change  has  taken  place  within 
the  present  century,  and  there  now  exist  entire  flocks,  which 
cannot  he  recognised  as  the  descendants  of  the  older  race. 
This  change  has  arisen  in  part  from  intermixture  of  the  New 
Leicester  blood,  and  in  part  from  the  increased  attention  of 
breeders  to  the  form  and  qualities  of  the  animals. 

The  Leicester  Breed  found  its  way  into  these  marshes 
more  slowly  than  into  most  other  parts  of  the  kingdom,  and 
violent  prejudices,  not  yet  subdued,  for  a  time  resisted  its 
reception.  But  about  the  beginning  of  the  present  century, 
a  general  desire  began  to  manifest  itself  amongst  the  more 
enlightened  breeders,  to  avail  themselves  of  the  means  of 
improvement  which  a  breed  so  highly  cultivated  as  the  New 
Leicester  presented  to  them  ;  and  great  numbers  of  rams 
from  the  midland  counties  were  accordingly  introduced  by 
individual  breeders.  The  effects  were  soon  apparent,  even 
in  the  flocks  of  those  who  were  the  most  opposed  to  the 
foreign  breed  ;  and  it  may  be  doubted  if  there  now  exists  a 
single  long-woolled  Sheep  in  the  county  of  Kent,  in  which 
the  influence  of  the  New  Leicester  blood  does  not  appear. 
The  first  effect  of  the  crossing  was  to  reduce  the  bulk  of  the 
native  Sheep,  but  to  give  them  a  greater  symmetry  of  parts 
and  tendency  to  fatten  ;  and,  independently  of  the  effects, 
direct  and  indirect,  of  the  mixture,  the  placing  of  superior 
models  before  the  eyes  of  breeders,  produced  a  beneficial 
result  throughout  the  whole  district,  so  that  more  attention 
was  from  this  period  bestowed  on  improving  the  native  stock 
by  selection.  After  a  time,  indeed,  the  feeling  in  favour  of 
the  older  race  began  to  revive ;  and,  for  a  considerable  period 
past,  the  Romney  Marsh  breeders  have, with  few  exceptions, 
continued  to  breed  from  the  indigenous  stock.  Nevertheless, 
the  effects  of  the  change  produced  by  the  former  crossing 
remained,  and  the  modern  Sheep  of  the  marsh,  although 
still  retaining  a  greater  degree  of  coarseness  and  lankness 
of  body  than  can  be  approved  of,  form  a  very  different  race 


178  THE  SHEEP. 

of  animals  from  the  Kentish  Sheep  of  the  beginning  of  the 
present  century. 

The  arguments  used  against  the  introduction  of  the  more 
cultivated  breed  were  similar  to  those  employed  by  the 
breeders  of  the  eastern  marshes.  It  was  argued,  that  the 
decrease  of  size  and  deterioration  of  the  fleece,  were  not 
compensated  by  the  earlier  maturity,  and  greater  tendency 
to  fatten,  of  the  imported  breed  ;  that  the  latter  were  less 
saleable  to  the  butchers,  and  that  the  ewes  were  less  pro- 
lific, and  inferior  as  nurses.  It  was  contended,  besides,  that 
the  new  breed  and  its  descendants  were  less  suited  than  the 
former  to  the  open  marshes  on  which  they  were  to  be  reared 
without  shelter  or  artificial  food  ;  and  that  they  were  apt  to 
be  driven  into  the  ditches  by  the  strong  gales  which  at  cer- 
tain seasons  swept  over  the  marsh.  A  satisfactory  answer 
can  be  given  to  the  greater  part  of  these  objections.  The 
decrease  of  weight  was,  to  a  certain  extent,  more  apparent 
than  real,  arising  from  a  diminution  in  the  size  of  bone  and 
the  coarser  parts ;  and  there  was  always  a  more  than  cor- 
responding gain,  by  the  breeders  being  enabled  to  bring 
their  animals  to  market  at  an  earlier  period.  The  deprecia- 
tion in  the  weight  and  quality  of  the  wool  was  little  in  the 
case  of  this  breed ;  the  wool  of  the  Romney  Marsh  Sheep 
never  having  been  in  the  first  class,  with  respect  either  to 
quality  or  productiveness.  That  the  new  breed  was  less  ac- 
ceptable to  the  butchers  is  true  ;  but  this  was  because  the 
fat  was  more  deposited  on  the  external  parts,  and  because 
the  offal  was  less.  The  interest  of  the  butcher,  it  is  to  be 
observed,  corresponds  only  in  certain  points  with  that  of  the 
breeder.  The  butcher  prefers  the  animals  that  yield  him 
most  profit  from  the  parts  sold  in  retail ;  but  he  has  no  con- 
cern with  the  quantity  of  food  consumed  by  them,  with  the 
period  required  for  bringing  them  to  maturity,  or  with  the 
details  of  management,  which  yield  a  profit  to  the  owner. 
The  butchers,  as  a  class,  have  rarely  been  the  advocates  of 
those  changes  which  have  added  so  great  a  value  ;to  the  live- 


stock  of  the  country  ;  and,  in  the  preference  which  they  long 
gave  to  the  coarse  sheep  of  Romney  Marsh,  their  opinions 
exercised  a  peculiarly  injurious  influence  on  the  breeding  of 
Sheep  in  this  part  of  England.  The  opinion  frequently  ex- 
pressed, that  the  new  breed  is  less  productive  of  lambs  than 
the  old,  does  not  seem  to  be  well  founded.  Generally,  in- 
deed, all  the  coarser  varieties  of  sheep  are  better  nurses,  and 
more  prolific,  than  the  more  highly  improved,  under  similar 
treatment.  But  it  does  not  appear  that  the  Romney  Marsh 
Sheep  were  ever  peculiarly  noted  for  producing  numerous 
lambs,  or  for  being  good  nurses.  No  sheep  in  this  country 
had  so  much  difficulty  in  parturition,  or  were  so  apt  to  desert 
their  offspring,  as  the  Romney  Marsh  ewes.  With  respect 
to  the  averment,  that  the  old  breed  was  better  suited  than 
the  new  to  withstand  the  stormy  climate  of  the  marsh,  and 
preserve  itself  from  the  open  ditches  with  which  the  country 
is  intersected,  it  is  to  be  observed,  that  some  truth,  mixed 
with  more  of  error,  exists  in  the  statement.  The  New  Lei- 
cester Breed  is  reared  with  facility  in  situations  greatly  more 
cold  and  exposed  than  the  Romney  Marsh,  which  possesses 
as  good  a  climate,  with  respect  to  temperature,  as  exists  in 
England.  That  the  Romney  Marsh  Breed  is  better  calcu- 
lated to  preserve  itself  from  the  accidents  resulting  from  the 
open  ditches  of  the  country  than  a  breed  naturalized  in  a  dif- 
ferent situation,  may  be  admitted ;  but  the  danger  itself  ought 
to  be  provided  against  by  suitable  enclosing,  and  not  used  as 
an  argument  against  the  cultivation  of  a  superior  breed.  Fur- 
ther, the  fact,  if  it  shall  be  admitted,  that  the  one  breed  is  bet- 
ter fitted  than  the  other  to  subsist  without  artificial  food  and 
shelter,  is  no  argument  against  the  reception  of  the  superior 
breed,  but  a  strong  one  in  favour  of  a  better  system  of  ma- 
nagement. There  cannot  be  a  doubt  that  the  Sheep  of  the 
Romney  Marsh  have  been  signally  benefited  by  the  blood  of 
the  New  Leicester  race.  The  Romney  Marsh  breeders  may 
now  please  themselves  by  believing  that  their  own  breed  is 
superior  to  the  imported  one ;  and  no  harm  will  result  from 

180  THE  SHEEP. 

the  opinion,  provided  they  discard  their  other  prejudices,  and 
breed  from  the  best  of  their  own  stock,  and  upon  a  suitable 
model.  The  long  and  constant  error  of  the  Kentish  breeders 
was  their  looking  to  size  more  than  to  the  other  qualities  in- 
dicative of  a  good  stock  of  Sheep.  Size,  indeed;  is  not  to  be 
disregarded  in  any  breed  reared  in  a  country  of  rich  pastures ; 
but  that  just  conformation  of  parts,  which  indicates  the  dis- 
position to  arrive  at  early  maturity  and  fatten  readily,  is  yet 
more  to  be  regarded. 


The  Sheep  of  the  marshes  and  fens  are  represented  by  the 
Lincolnshire  and  Romney  Marsh  Breeds  already  described. 
Minor  varieties  of  the  same  breeds  existed  in  detached  allu- 
vial tracts  along  the  coasts ;  but  they  were  confined  to  nar- 
row localities,  and  have  now  all  merged  in  the  races  of  the 
adjoining  districts.  The  other  class  of  breeds  consists  of  those 
which  have  been  naturalized  in  the  valleys,  plains,  and  richer 
tracts  of  the  inland  parts.  The  great  district  of  these  breeds 
is  the  rich  tract  of  the  new  red  sandstone,  which,  commencing 
with  the  country  of  the  Tees,  extends  southward  by  the  Vales 
of  York  and  Trent  to  the  lower  valley  of  the  Severn,  and 
thence  again  northward  ;  although,  it  is  to  be  observed,  that 
it  is  chiefly  in  the  eastern  and  midland  counties  that  these 
breeds  are  found,  and  that,  as  we  approach  to  the  western 
limits  of  the  new  red  sandstone  in  the  north  of  Staffordshire, 
Cheshire,  and  Lancashire,  the  long-woolled  breeds  are  in 
smaller  numbers,  and  mixed  with,  or  allied  to,  the  ancient 
breeds  of  the  forests,  wastes,  and  chases. 

The  most  remarkable  of  the  inland  breeds  was  the  Old 
Teeswater,  so  named  from  the  valley  of  the  beautiful  river 
which  separates  the  counties  of  York  and  Durham.  This 
valley  is  exceedingly  fertile,  though  of  limited  extent ;  but 
the  breed  to  which  it  gave  a  name  extended,  with  some 


change  of  characters,  northward  into  Durham,  and  south- 
ward through  the  greater  part  of  Yorkshire,  until  it  merged 
in  the  heavy-woolled  Sheep  of  the  marshes  on  the  one  hand, 
and  those  of  Leicestershire  and  the  other  midland  counties 
on  the  other.  The  true  Teeswater  Sheep,  as  reared  in  their 
native  valley,  were  of  the  larger  class,  very  tall,  bearing  a 
long  but  not  a  very  thick  fleece,  inferior  only  in  toughness 
and  length  of  filaments  to  that  of  the  ancient  Lincolns.  The 
wool  was,  however,  more  hard,  less  uniform  in  the  staple, 
and  very  coarse  towards  the  extremities.  These  Sheep  were 
of  an  exceedingly  uncouth  form.  They  had  coarse  heads,  large 
round  haunches,  and  long  stout  limbs.  They  were  slow  in 
fattening,  and  required  for  their  support  good  pastures,  with 
a  supply  of  hay  and  corn.  They  were  the  most  prolific  of  all 
our  races  of  Sheep,  bearing  usually  two,  and  not  unfrequently 
three,  lambs  at  a  birth  ;  and  they  were  surpassed  by  no  other 
Sheep  in  the  faculty  of  yielding  milk.  This  coarse  and  heavy 
breed  has  now  entirely  disappeared  in  its  original  form.  The 
New  Leicester  Breed  progressively  extended  northward 
through  the  Vale  of  York,  and  at  a  still  earlier  period  had 
been  established  in  Northumberland,  by  breeders,  the  con- 
temporaries of  Bakewell.  Under  these  circumstances,  the 
older  breed  of  the  Tees  soon  gave  place  to  the  new  breed  of 
the  Midland  Counties,  either  by  substitution  of  the  one  for 
the  other,  or  by  the  effects  of  crossing.  At  the  commence- 
ment of  the  present  century,  a  few  individual  Sheep  only  of 
the  older  breed  were  to  be  found  in  the  hands  of  some  old 
farmers,  unwilling  to  relinquish  preconceived  opinions  and 
habits.  At  the  present  time,  not  one  living  example,  perhaps, 
remains  of  the  true  Old  Teeswater  Breed.  The  only  traces 
of  it  that  present  themselves  are  in  the  largeness  of  size  of 
the  sheep  of  particular  breeders,  who  have  continued  to  pre- 
fer a  stock  of  larger  sheep  to  the  more  modern  variety  of 
higher  breeding. 

Proceeding   southward,  the  Teeswater  and  its  varieties 
gradually  merged  in  the  former  breeds  of  Leicestershire  and 

182  THE  SHEEP. 

the  adjoining  counties.  These  latter  varieties  were  smaller 
than  the  true  Teeswater,  but  of  figures  equally  ungainly. 
They  had  coarse  heads,  thick  hides,  and  long  lank  bodies ; 
and,  corresponding  with  the  defects  of  their  external  form, 
was  their  slowness  in  fattening  and  arriving  at  the  required 
maturity.  A  Earn  of  the  Warwickshire  variety  is  described 
by  Mr  Marshall  as  having  "  a  frame  large  and  remarkably 
loose,  his  bone  heavy,  his  legs  long  and  thick,  terminating  in 
great  splaw  feet,  his  chine,  as  well  as  his  rump,  sharp  as  a 
hatchet,  his  skin  rattling  on  his  ribs."  The  wool  of  these 
sheep  varied  with  the  locality,  but  generally  it  was  inferior 
in  weight,  shorter  in  the  staple,  and  more  slender  in  the  fila- 
ments, than  that  of  the  genuine  Teeswater.  All  these  varie- 
ties of  sheep  have  disappeared,  so  that  not  a  living  example 
of  them  is  to  be  found  ;  and  their  place  has  been  long  taken 
by  the  beautiful  breed,  to  which  reference  has  been  so  fre- 
quently made,  and  of  which  more  especial  notice  will  be 
taken  in  the  sequel. 

In  the  western  counties,  from  the  southern  division  of 
Staffordshire  northward  to  the  Solway  Firth,  the  long-woolled 
varieties  were  rare,  and  found  only  in  a  few  places.  They 
were  all  of  the  coarsest  kinds  of  sheep,  and  inferior  in  weight 
of  body  to  those  of  the  eastern  and  midland  counties.  Some 
of  them  lingered  until  a  recent  period  in  the  lower  parts  of 
Westmoreland  and  Cumberland,  and  some  of  them  extended 
across  the  Solway  into  the  west  of  Scotland.  They  have 
now  all  disappeared,  or  left  only  indistinct  traces  of  their  for- 
mer existence  in  the  flocks  of  a  few  careless  Sheep-masters. 
It  is  not  known  whether  Scotland  originally  possessed  a  na- 
tive race  of  Long-woolled  Sheep  ;  but  sheep  of  this  kind  were 
early  in  the  last  century  introduced  into  the  south-eastern 
border  counties,  and,  about  the  time  of  the  American  war, 
were  largely  mixed  in  blood  with  the  improved  New  Leicester. 

Another  district  of  Long-woolled  Sheep  is  found  in  England 
just  beyond  the  tract  of  the  lias  and  oolite  limestone,  in  the 
counties  of  Devon  and  Somerset.  One  variety  of  them  in- 


habited  the  southern  part  of  Devonshire  from  the  Vale  of 
Honiton  westward,  and  another  was  found  more  to  the  north 
stretching  to  the  river  Parret  in  Somersetshire.  The  first 
of  these  varieties,  termed  Southam  Notts,  had  brown  faces 
and  legs,  crooked  limbs,  and  flat  sides.  They  carried  a  fleece 
of  long  wool,  moderately  soft,  weighing  from  9  Ib.  to  10  lb., 
and  at  30  months  old  the  wethers  weighed  from  22  lb.  to 
25  lb.  the  quarter.  The  other  variety  was  termed  Bampton 
Notts,  from  the  village  of  that  name  on  the  confines  of  the 
counties  of  Devon  and  Somerset.  They  had  white  faces, 
bore  a  very  weighty  fleece  of  long  wool,  and  weighed  at  two 
years  old  from  30  lb.  to  35  lb.  the  quarter.  These  breeds 
have  been  largely  crossed  with  the  New  Leicester,  and  may 
be  said  to  be  now  extinct  in  their  pure  state.  The  first  mix- 
ture of  blood  produced  at  once  animals  greatly  superior  to 
the  older  race.  The  defect  of  these  sheep  was  their  clumsy 
forms  and  thick  hides,  and  consequent  indisposition  to  fatten. 
These  faults  have  been  entirely  corrected  by  the  crossing 
that  has  taken  place,  although  this  was  more  tardily  carried 
into  effect  in  Devonshire  than  in  any  other  part  of  England : 
and,  on  the  basis  of  the  older  breeds,  has  been  formed  a  very 
fine  race  of  sheep,  diminished  in  bulk  of  body  from  the  ori- 
ginal Bamptons,  but  still  amongst  the  largest  sheep  in  the 
kingdom.  Thus  a  wether  of  mixed  blood,  killed  in  1835,  had 
arrived  at  the  prodigious  weight  of  70  lb.  the  quarter  ;  and  one 
lately  living  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Exeter  weighed  430  lb. 
live  weight.  The  breeders  of  Devonshire  take  a  just  pride 
in  their  newly-formed  breed,  but  do  not  seem  disposed  to 
reduce  the  size  to  the  standard  approved  of  by  the  Leicester 




Ireland,  from  the  fertility  of  the  soil,  the  humidity  of  the  cli- 
mate, and  the  mildness  of  the  winters,  is  well  suited  for  the 
rearing  of  Sheep  of  the  larger  kind;  and  Sheep  appear,  in  every 

184  THE  SHEEP. 

known  period,  to  have  existed  in  numbers  throughout  the 
country.  They  consisted  partly  of  Short-woolled  breeds,  to 
which  reference  has  been  already  made,  and  partly  of  a  Long- 
woolled  race,  which  extended  with  pretty  uniform  characters 
over  the  greater  part  of  the  level  country.  This  latter  race  was 
of  large  size,  and  of  a  form  peculiarly  coarse  and  unthrifty. 
They  are  described  by  Mr  Culley  as  they  were  seen  by  him  at 
the  fair  of  Ballinasloe,  in  the  latter  part  of  last  century, 
thus  : — "  I  am  sorry  to  say  I  never  saw  such  ill-formed 
ugly  sheep  as  these  :  the  worst  breeds  we  have  in  Great 
Britain  are  much  superior.  One  would  almost  imagine 
that  the  sheep-breeders  in  Ireland  have  taken  as  much 
pains  to  breed  plain  awkward  sheep,  as  many  of  the  people 
in  England  have  to  breed  handsome  ones.  I  know  nothing 
to  recommend  them  except  their  size,  which  might  please 
some  old-fashioned  breeders,  who  can  get  no  kind  of  stock 
large  enough.  But  I  will  endeavour  to  describe  them, 
and  leave  my  readers  to  judge  for  themselves.  These 
sheep  are  supported  by  long,  thick,  crooked,  and  gray  legs  ; 
their  heads  long  and  ugly,  with  large  flagging  ears,  gray  faces, 
and  eyes  sunk,  necks  long,  and  set  on  below  the  shoulders  ; 
breasts  narrow  and  short,  hollow  before  and  behind  the 
shoulders  ;  flat- sided,  with  high  narrow  herring  backs  ;  hind 
quarters  drooping,  and  tail  set  low.  In  short,  they  are  al- 
most in  every  respect  contrary  to  what  I  apprehend  a  well- 
formed  sheep  should  be."  *  Of  the  fidelity  of  this  description 
no  doubt  can  be  entertained,  although  the  change  that  has 
since  taken  place  is  so  great  as  to  leave  little  likeness  of  the 
former  picture.  There  yet  remain,  indeed,  some  of  the  dis- 
tinctive characters  of  the  older  family, — the  large  heads,  the 
flat  sides.,  the  narrow  breasts  ;  but  all  that  excessive  ugliness 
of  form  which  placed  the  Irish  below  the  worst  breeds  of 
England,  may  be  said  to  have  disappeared.  This  has  been 
the  result  of  crossing  with  the  New  Leicester  Breed,  which 
began  about  the  time  Mr  Culley  wrote,  and  has  been  con- 

*  Culley  on  Live  Stock. 


tinned  since  with  such  success  that  it  is  now  difficult  to  find 
an  individual  of  the  unmixed  race  in  the  whole  country. 
Many  of  the  wealthier  breeders  acquired  at  once  flocks  of  the 
pure  New  Leicester  Breed  ;  but  the  main  effect  was  produced 
by  crossing,  which  everywhere  took  place  with  a  rapidity 
which  may  well  be  deemed  remarkable  in  a  country  where 
so  defective  a  state  of  property  exists,  and  where  so  many 
obstacles  counteract  the  natural  course  of  improvement. 

But  the  present  Long-woolled  Sheep  of  Ireland  still  want 
much  of  the  perfection  at  which  they  are  capable  of  arriving. 
They  are  yet,  for  the  most  part,  too  coarse  in  their  general 
form,  narrow  in  the  chest,  and  flat-sided.  The  wool  is  only  of 
medium  quality  and  weight;  and  there  is  a  sort  of  harshness 
about  it,  which  shews  that  the  long  wool  of  Ireland  was  never 
of  good  quality.  The  breed  is  more  valued  by  the  butcher 
in  its  present  state  than  when  more  highly  improved ;  but 
there  is  manifestly  too  great  a  proportion  of  waste  for  the 
profit  of  the  breeder,  and  it  does  not  appear  that  the  mutton 
is  superior  to  that  of  the  New  Leicesters.  It  is  the  fear  of 
many  breeders  in  Ireland,  that  the  system  of  crossing  has 
been  carried  too  far,  and  that  the  Sheep  of  the  country  are 
becoming  too  small.  The  same  fear  was  entertained  by  the 
owners  of  the  Teeswater,  the  Romney  Marsh,  and  other 
Long-woolled  Sheep  of  England,  when  the  Leicester  blood 
was  first  introduced.  But  time  allayed  these  misapprehen- 
sions, at  least  to  the  extent  to  which  they  were  at  first  ex- 
cited ;  and  although,  in  many  districts  of  England,  the  breeders 
seem  now  disposed  to  resist  the  further  change  of  their  stock 
by  crossing,  this  was  not  until  after  a  larger  infusion  of  the 
blood  of  the  new  breed  than  has  yet  taken  place  in  the  great 
mass  of  the  Long-woolled  Sheep  of  Ireland,  which  certainly 
cannot  be  said  to  have  arrived  at  a  degree  of  refinement  in- 
jurious to  their  useful  qualities.  They  have  still,  for  the  most 
part,  too  great  length  of  limbs  with  relation  to  the  depth  of 
carcass ;  and  their  apparent  bulk  of  body  may  yet  be  materially 
lessened  without  diminution  of  the  weight. 

186  THE  SHEEP. 


The  Cotswold  Breed  of  Sheep  derives  its  name  from  a 
tract  of  low  calcareous  hills  in  the  eastern  division  of  the 
county  of  Gloucester,  forming  a  part  of  the  great  Oolite  for- 
mation of  England,  which,  commencing  with  the  moorlands 
of  Yorkshire,  stretches  diagonally  across  the  island,  and  loses 
itself  in  the  British  Channel,  near  the  Isle  of  Portland.     The 
Gloucester  portion  of  this  tract  is  of  moderate  elevation,  com- 
paratively infertile,  yet  capable  of  cultivation,  and  yielding 
in  the  natural  state  a  short  sweet  herbage.     It  was  formerly 
a  range  of  bleak  wastes,  employed  in  the  pasturage  of  Sheep, 
and  much  of  it  was  in  the  state  of  common ;  but  with  the 
progress  of  the  last  century,  the  commons  were  appropriated, 
and  cultivation  was  extended.     It  derives  its  name  from  Cote, 
a  sheep-fold,  and  Would,  a  naked  hill.     It  was  early  noted 
for  the  numbers  of  sheep  which  it  maintained,  and  the  fine- 
ness and  abundance  of  their  wool.     "  In  these  woulds,"  says 
the  translator  of  Camden,  "  they  feed  in  great  numbers  flockes 
of  sheep,  long-necked  and  square  of  bulk  and  bone,  by  reason 
(as  is  commonly  thought)  of  the  weally  and  hilly  situation  of 
their  pasturage,  whose  wool,  being  most  fine  and  soft,  is  held 
in  passing  great  account  amongst  all  nations."    Other  writers 
refer  to  the  excellence  and  abundance  of  the  wool  of  the  Cots- 
wold  Wolds.     Drayton  contrasts  the  rich  fleeces  of  Cotswold 
with  those  of  the  flocks  of  Sarum  and  Leominster,  and  gives  the 
palm  to  Cotswold  for  its  more  abundant  produce.*    The  faith- 
ful and  laborious  Stowe,  in  his  Chronicles,  states,  that,  in  the 
year  1464,  King  Edward  IV.  "  concluded  an  amnesty  and 
league  with  King  Henry  of  Castill,  and  John,  King  of  Ara- 
gon,  at  the  concluding  whereof,  hee  granted  licence  for  cer- 

*  "  T'  whom  Sarum's  plaine  gives  place,  though  famous  for  its  flocks  ; 
Yet  hardly  doth  she  tythe  our  Cotswolde's  wealthy  locks  : 
Though  Lemster  him  exceed  in  finenesse  of  her  ore, 
Yet  quite  he  puts  her  downe  for  his  abundant  store." 



tain  Coteswold  Sheepe  to  be  transported  into  the  country  of 
Spaine,  which  have  there  since  mightily  increased  and  multi- 
plied to  the  Spanish  profit,  as  it  is  said."  The  worthy  writer 
is  not  so  well  satisfied  as  some  of  his  countrymen,  that  the 
Spaniards  owed  all  their  Sheep  to  England;  for,  adds  he,  "true 
it  is,  that  long  ere  this  were  Sheepe  in  Spaine,  as  may  appear  by 
a  patent  of  King  Henry  the  Second,  granting  to  the  weavers 
of  London,  that  if  any  cloth  were  found  to  be  made  of  Spanish 
wool,  mixed  with  English  wool,  the  maior  of  London  should  see 
it  brent.55  Adam  Speed,  who  wrote  in  1629,  describes  the 
wool  of  the  Cotswold  Sheep  as  similar  to  that  of  the  Ryeland. 
"  In  Herefordshire,  especially  about  Lempster,  and  on  those 
famous  hills  called  Cotswold  Hills,  sheep  are  fed  that  pro- 
duce a  singular  good  wool,  which,  for  fineness,  comes  very 
near  to  that  of  Spain,  for  from  it  a  thread  may  be  drawn  as 
fine  as  silk.'5  The  precise  character  of  the  Sheep  which  pro- 
duced this  wool  is  now  unknown.  They  were  probably  simi- 
lar to  the  large  fine-woolled  breeds  of  the  adjoining  counties 
of  Wilts  and  Berks,  a  supposition  which  agrees  with  the 
locality  of  the  districts,  and  with  "  the  long  necks  and  square 
of  bulk  and  bone"  ascribed  to  the  Cotswold  Sheep  by  Camden, 
and  explains  the  distinction  of  Drayton  between  the  wealthy 
locks  of  Cotswold,  and  the^  less  abundant  ore  of  Lemster. 
Markham,  indeed,  a  writer  of  the  time  of  Elizabeth,  speaks  of 
the  Cotswold  Sheep  as  having  long  wool,  but  this  testimony 
cannot  weigh  against  the  direct  authority  of  Speed  in  a  later 
age  ;  and  it  may  be  believed,  that  the  term  long,  as  used  by 
Markham,  is  merely  relative,  as  applied  to  the  two  kinds  of 

The  Sheep,  however,  which  now  possess  the  same  country, 
and  have  inhabited  it  beyond  the  memory  of  the  living  gene- 
ration, are  a  Long-woolled  race,  and  thus  entirely  distinct 
from  the  Sheep  of  the  ancient  forests,  wolds,  and  downs,  which 
produced  the  former  fine  wool  of  England.  They  are  of  the 
larger  class  of  British  Sheep,  and  all  their  characters  denote 
them  to  be  a  breed  of  the  plains  and  richer  country.  The 

188  THE  SHEEP. 

period  of  their  introduction  is  unknown  ;  but  it  probably  took 
place  pretty  late  in  the  last  century,  with  the  appropriation 
of  the  commons,  and  the  extension  of  tillage  in  a  degree  suf- 
ficient to  supply  artificial  food  to  a  larger  kind  of  animal.  A 
traditionary  belief  has  always  existed  in  the  country,  that 
the  modern  race  is  not  the  original  one  of  the  Cotswold 
Wolds  ;  but  no  intelligible  account  can  be  obtained  from  any 
one  now  living  of  the  time  or  manner  of  its  introduction.  It 
was  probably  derived  from  the  upper  part  of  Oxfordshire,  or 
from  Warwickshire,  the  ancient  breed  of  which  it  seems  in 
some  respects  to  have  resembled ;  and  the  change  may  have 
been  chiefly  produced  by  crossing.  Mr  Marshall  and  some 
intelligent  writers,  indeed,  have  believed  that  the  Cotswold 
Sheep  have  always  been  a  Long-woolled  breed,  and  have 
cited,  in  support  of  this  opinion,  the  absence  of  any  information 
to  be  obtained  in  the  district  itself  regarding  the  supposed 
change  of  breeds.  But  we  know  how  quickly  the  memory  of 
such  events  is  effaced,  and  that  changes  as  great  as  that  in 
the  Cotswold  Sheep  have  occurred  in  all  parts  of  the  king- 
dom, without  our  having  the  means  of  obtaining  any  account 
of  them  after  the  lapse  of  a  short  period.  It  would  be  op- 
posed to  all  that  we  know  of  the  natural  history  of  the  Sheep, 
to  suppose  that  a  tract  of  country  so  recently  cultivated  and 
enclosed  as  the  Cotswold  Hills,  could  have  maintained  on  its 
natural  herbage  one  of  the  largest  races  of  Sheep  in  England, 
and  communicated  to  it  the  property  of  growing  long  wool. 
Such  a  race,  we  must  suppose,  was  indigenous  to  the  plains, 
and  has  merely  taken  the  place  of  an  older  breed,  in  a  man- 
ner similar  to  that  which  has  been  continually  occurring 
during  the  last  fifty  years  over  a  great  part  of  the  British 

But  the  Long-woolled  Sheep  of  the  Cotswold  hills  have 
themselves  undergone  an  important  change  within  a  period 
comparatively  recent.  They  were  formerly  of  greater  bulk 
of  body  and  coarser  forms,  and  are  said  to  have  borne  a  greater 
weight  of  wool  than  they  now  yield.  But  about  sixty  years 


ago,  the  New  Leicester  Breed,  on  its  extension  throughout 
the  central  counties,  was  made  to  cross  the  Cotswold  as  well 
as  all  the  Long-woolled  sheep  of  Gloucestershire.  This  sys- 
tem of  crossing  was  pursued  so  extensively,  that  after  a  time 
there  did  not,  perhaps,  exist  a  single  Cotswold  flock  which 
was  not  more  or  less  mixed  in  blood  with  the  New  Leicester 
Breed.  The  effect  was,  as  in  other  cases,  to  diminish  the 
bulk  of  body  of  the  existing  breed,  and  lessen  the  produce  of 
wool,  but  to  communicate  to  the  individuals  a  greater  deli- 
cacy of  form.  Between  twenty  and  thirty  years  ago,  how- 
ever, the  Cotswold  breeders  began  to  apprehend  that  their 
flocks  were  losing  too  much  in  carcass  and  fleece,  and  be- 
coming less  fitted  for  the  climate  of  their  native  hills.  From 
this  period,  a  preference  began  to  be  given  to  the  native  stock, 
and  for  many  years  past,  crossing  has  been  scarcely  practised, 
and  most  of  the  breeders  have  been  desirous  to  revert  more 
to  the  former  model  of  their  breed. 

The  modern  Cotswold  Sheep  are  of  a  size  somewhat  supe- 
rior to  the  highest  bred  New  Leicesters,  and  their  wool  is 
more  close  upon  the  body.  The  staple  measures  from  6  to  8 
inches,  and  the  fleece  weighs,  upon  a  medium,  from  7  to  8  lb., 
that  of  the  inferior  flocks  not  exceeding  5  and  6  lb.  It  is 
strong,  of  a  good  colour,  rather  coarse,  but  of  a  mellow 
quality.  These  sheep  have  not  been  brought  to  the  same 
perfection  of  form  as  the  New  Leicester,  and,  like  the  sheep 
of  Romney  Marsh,  they  tend  to  accumulate  fat  on  the  rump 
almost  to  the  degree  of  producing  deformity  ;  but  they  are 
hardy,  and  usually  of  sound  constitutions.  The  females  are 
prolific,  and  good  nurses,  and  the  lambs  are  early  covered  with 
a  close  fleece.  At  a  former  period,  when  tillage  was  less 
extended  than  now,  the  Cotswold  Sheep  were  frequently  sent 
in  winter  to  the  valleys  of  the  Thames  and  Severn,  and  gene- 
rally sold  in  the  lean  state  at  between  two  and  three  years 
old.  But  since  the  old  sheep-walks  have  been  broken  up,  and 
turnips  and  artificial  grasses  cultivated,  the  greater  part  of 
the  sheep  that  are  reared  in  the  country  are  likewise  fattened 

190  THE  SHEEP. 

in  it.  They  are  kept  on  turnips,  vetches,  hay,  and  the  grasses 
and  clovers,  and  disposed  of  in  the  fat  state  at  from  a  year 
and  a-half  to  two  years  old ;  and  within  these  last  seven  or 
eight  years,  the  practice  has  been  introduced  of  bringing  them 
to  market  at  twelve  or  fourteen  months  old.  At  the  latter 
age  they  weigh  from  15  to  24  Ib.  the  quarter ;  and,  when  from 
a  year  and  a-half  to  two  years  old,  their  medium  weight  is 
calculated  to  be  from  20  to  30  Ib.  the  quarter. 

The  Cotswold  Breed,  after  having  long  yielded  to  the  pro- 
gress of  the  more  highly  cultivated  New  Leicester,  has  of 
recent  years  been  attracting  the  attention  of  general  breeders, 
and  is  now  contesting  the  ground  with  the  Leicester  in  various 
districts  of  England  and  Wales.  The  qualities  that  in  an 
especial  degree  recommend  it  to  notice  are,  its  hardiness  and 
property  of  thriving  under  common  treatment,  and  the  faculty 
of  the  females  of  yielding  numerous  lambs,  and  supporting 
them  well.  The  breed  is  still  far  short  of  the  New  Leicester 
in  form,  but  it  has  been  making  continued  advances  to  a  more 
perfect  state,  by  the  increased  attention  bestowed  on  selection 
and  general  treatment.  The  system  of  letting  Rams  for  hire 
has  been  adopted  on  the  large  scale  by  some  of  the  Cotswold 
breeders ;  and  from  the  attention  which  this  necessarily  di- 
rects to  the  rearing  of  superior  males,  it  cannot  be  doubted 
that  the  Cotswold  Breed  will  be  yet  further  extended  and 


The  Breed  of  Sheep  termed  the  New  Leicester,  is  so  named 
from  the  county  of  Leicester,  where  it  had  its  origin.  It  was 
formed  by  Robert  Bakewell  of  Dishley,  whence  it  is  likewise 
termed  the  Dishley  Breed.  It  was  about  the  year  1755,  that 
Mr  Bakewell  began  those  experiments  on  the  breeding  of 
animals,  which  led  to  such  important  results.  His  purpose 
was  to  produce  sheep  exempt  from  the  defects  of  the  races 


then  cultivated,  and  possessed  of  a  greater  aptitude  to  fatten 
and  arrive  at  early  maturity ;  and  the  means  which  he  em- 
ployed were,  breeding  from  the  individuals,  possessed  of  the 
properties  sought  for,  and  rendering  these  properties  perma- 
nent in  the  offspring.  It  is  known  that,  by  continued  selec- 
tion of  the  male  and  female  parents  in  a  given  number  of 
animals,  the  characters  deemed  defects  can,  under  certain 
limits,  be  removed,  and  the  acquired  properties  rendered  per- 
manent in  the  progeny  by  continued  reproduction  with  one 
another.  The  principle  that  the  virtues  of  parents  are  com- 
municated to  their  young,  was  not  newly  discovered  ;  but  it 
was  reserved  for  Bakewell  to  apply  it  in  the  case  of  the  ani- 
mals used  for  human  food  in  a  new  manner,  and  to  produce 
more  remarkable  results  than  had  before  been  arrived  at. 
He  perfectly  understood  the  relation  which  exists  between 
the  external  form  of  an  animal  and  its  aptitude  to  become  fat 
in  a  short  time.  He  saw  that  this  relation  did  not  depend 
upon  size,  nor,  in  the  case  of  the  Sheep,  on  the  power  of  the 
individual  to  yield  a  large  quantity  of  wool.  He  therefore 
departed  from  the  practice  of  all  former  breeders  of  the  Long- 
woolled  Sheep,  who  had  regarded  size  and  abundant  growth 
of  wool  as  primary  properties  in  the  parents.  Holding  bulk 
of  body,  and  the  produce  of  the  fleece,  to  be  secondary  pro- 
perties, Bakewell  directed  especial  attention  to  the  external 
form  which  indicates  the  property  of  yielding  the  largest 
quantity  of  muscle  and  fat,  with  the  least  bone,  and  what  is 
usually  termed  offal.  He  aimed,  too,  it  is  said,  at  producing 
the  fat  on  the  most  valuable  parts  ;  but  this  is  merely  a  sub- 
sidiary property,  dependent  upon  general  harmony  of  con- 
formation. Progressively  perfecting  his  animals  by  skilful 
selection,  he  necessarily  continued  to  breed  from  his  own 
stock,  and  did  not  scruple  to  connect  together  animals  the 
nearest  allied  in  blood  to  one  another.  This  system,  con- 
tinually pursued,  not  only  gave  a  permanency  to  the  charac- 
ters imprinted  on  his  sheep,  constituting  a  breed,  in  the  pro- 
per sense  of  the  term,  but  tended  to  produce  that  delicacy  of 

192  THE  SHEEP. 

form,  which  experience  shews  to  be  connected  with  the  power 
of  secreting  fat,  and  arriving  at  early  maturity,  or  what  may 
be  termed  premature  age.  The  system,  acted  upon  for  suc- 
cessive generations,  tended  likewise  to  render  the  animals 
more  the  creatures  of  an  artificial  condition,  more  delicate  in 
temperament  as  well  as  in  form,  less  prolific  of  lambs,  and 
less  capable  of  supplying  milk  to  their  offspring.  It  cannot 
be  supposed  that  Bakewell  was  unobservant  of  these  effects  ; 
but  he  appears  to  have  regarded  them  as  being  of  a  con- 
sideration secondary  to  the  property  of  producing,  in  the 
shortest  time,  the  largest  quantity  of  fat,  with  the  least  con- 
sumption of  herbage  and  other  food.  That  this  was  the 
main  result  at  which  he  aimed,  all  his  practice  shews  ;  and 
his  success  corresponded  with  the  skill  and  perseverance 
with  which  he  applied  his  principles  to  practice.  His  stock 
became  gradually  known  and  appreciated  in  the  country 
around  him  ;  but  it  was  not  until  after  the  lapse  of  nearly  a 
quarter  of  a  century,  that  it  arrived  at  that  general  estima- 
tion in  which  it  was  afterwards  held.  He  early  conceived  the 
idea  of  letting  his  rams  for  the  season,  in  place  of  selling 
them.  The  plan  was  ridiculed  and  opposed  in  every  way, 
and  it  was  not  until  after  the  labour  of  many  years,  that  he 
succeeded  in  establishing  it  as  a  regular  system.  It  is  said 
that  his  rams  were  first  let,  in  1760,  at  17s.  6d.  each  ;  but  this 
was  certainly  before  his  breed  had  arrived  at  its  ultimate 
perfection.  His  usual  price  afterwards  became  a  guinea, 
and,  in  rarer  cases,  two  or  three ;  but  the  price  rapidly  ad- 
vanced with  the  increasing  reputation  of  his  stock.  In 
1784-5,  the  price  had  risen  to  about  100  guineas  for  his  best 
rams.  In  1786,  he  made  about  1000  guineas  by  the  letting 
of  his  stock  ;  and  in  1789,  he  made  1200  guineas  by  three 
rams,  and  2000  guineas  by  seven ;  and  in  the  same  year,  he  made 
3000  guineas  more  by  letting  the  remainder  of  his  rams  to  the 
Dishley  Society,  then  instituted.  These  facts  deserve  to  be  re- 
corded, as  manifesting  the  high  estimation  in  which  the  breed 
of  Bakewell  was  held  as  soon  as  its  properties  became  known. 



Controversies  have  arisen  regarding  the  parent  stock  from 
which  Bakewell  produced  his  breed.  He  himself  chose  to 
adopt  a  studied  mystery  on  the  subject.  Some  have  imagined 
that  the  basis  of  his  breed  was  the  Old  Lincolnshire,  some 
the  Tees  water,  some  the  Warwickshire,  while  others  con- 
tend that  he  crossed  with  the  By eland,  the  South  Down,  the 
Cham  wood  Forest,  or  some  other  of  the  Short-woolled  breeds, 
in  order  to  communicate  that  fineness  of  bone,  and  peculiar 
character  of  wool,  distinctive  of'  his  breed.  But  whatever 
were  the  first  experiments  of  Bakewell,  the  knowledge  of 
them  perished  with  the  individual ;  and  there  is  nothing  in 
the  breed,  as  it  was  at  length  perfected,  which  can  enable  us 
to  explain  the  progressive  steps  by  which  its  characters  were 
acquired.  In  one  of  his  letters  to  Mr  Chaplin,  he  admits  that 
he  had  at  one  time  made  use  of  Old  Lincoln  rams ;  but  he 
states,  at  the  same  time,  that  he  had  not  done  so  for  many 
years,  and  he  ever  afterwards  expressed  the  utmost  dislike 
of  this  coarse  and  unthrifty  breed,  which  was,  indeed,  the 
most  removed  of  any  other  from  the  model  which  his  own 
principles  of  breeding  led  him  to  adopt.  Neither  was  the 
Old  Teeswater  one  which  presented  the  characters  required. 
This,  it  has  been  seen,  was  a  very  large  and  coarse  breed, 
and  not  one,  therefore,  which  Bakewell  was  likely  to  select 
as  the  basis  of  a  stock,  of  which  he  sought  rather  to  diminish 
than  increase  the  size.  Besides,  the  wool  of  the  Old  Tees- 
water  Breed  was  extremely  long  in  the  filaments,  and  differed 
greatly  in  this  respect  from  the  shorter  and  finer  fleece  ac- 
quired by  the  New  Leicesters.  All  the  presumption  is,  that 
the  basis  of  Bakewell' s  breed  was  the  Long-woolled  Sheep 
of  the  midland  counties,  from  which  he  may  be  supposed  to 
have  made  such  selection  as  suited  his  purposes.  On  his 
obtaining  his  paternal  farm,  he  would  necessarily  succeed  to 
a  stock  of  sheep  similar  to  that  which  existed  on  the  neigh- 
bouring farms,  and  it  would  only  be  in  accordance  with  the 
practice  of  ordinary  caution,  that  he  should  endeavour  to  im- 
prove this  stock  rather  than  at  once  adopt  another  of  a  dif- 


194  THE  SHEEP. 

ferent  race.      It  is   commonly  believed,   that  a  little  before 
the  improvements  of  Bakewell,  one  breeder,  at  least,  in  the 
county  of  Leicester,  had  acquired  the  distinction  of  possessing 
superior  sheep,  and  disposed  of  rams  for  the  purpose  of  breed- 
ing.    Whether  Bakewell  owed  anything  to  the  anterior  im- 
provements of  others,  is  unknown.      From  what  we  know  of 
his  character  and  habits,  he  himself  would  have  been  the  last 
to  acknowledge  his  obligations  to  another  breeder ;  but  he 
used  such  precautions  for  concealing  the  sources  from  which 
he  derived  the  means  of  improving  his  animals,  as  may  well 
favour  the  suspicion  that  he  was  not  wholly  without  obliga- 
tions to  the  labours  of  his  cotemporaries  or  predecessors. 
With  respect  to  the  opinion  that  he  crossed  his  stock  with 
the  Short-woolled  Sheep,  it  rests  upon  no  actual  knowledge 
of  the  fact.     It  appears  that  he  made  numerous  experiments 
in  the  early  period  of  his  breeding ;  and  it  is  not  impossible 
that  he  may  have  made  a  partial  cross  by  such  animals  as 
seemed  to  suit  his  purposes,  without  reference  to  their  origin. 
A  certain  darkness  of  colour  in  the  skin  of  the  face  of  his 
Sheep  may  seem  to  favour  the  opinion  that  he  had  made  a 
cross  with  some  of  the  dark-faced  Down  or  Forest  breeds  ; 
but  we  do  not  know  whether  the  Old  Leicesters  did  not,  like 
the  Southam  Notts,  and  some  others  of  the  larger  varieties, 
possess  something  of  this  peculiarity.      With  regard  to  the 
delicacy  of  form,  and  shortness  of  wool,  of  the  New  Leicester 
Breed,  it  is  not  necessary  to  account  for  their  existence  by 
resorting  to  the  supposition  of  a  mixture  of  blood  with  any  of 
the  short-woolled  races.      Both  characters  were  necessarily 
communicated  by  the  system  of  breeding  which  Bakewell 
pursued.      Not  only  did  he  regard  the  growth  of  wool  as 
a  secondary  effect,  but  he  appears  to  have  entertained  the 
opinion,  that  the  production  of  a  large  quantity  of  wool  was 
inconsistent  with  the  property  of  yielding  much  fat ;  and  this 
opinion  would  necessarily  conduct  him  to  the  choice  of  ani- 
mals for  breeding  which  produced  a  lighter  fleece.     Besides, 
the  Sheep  of  the  midland  counties  did  not  always  produce 


wool  which  was  long  in  the  staple.  A  part  of  the  counties  of 
Leicester  and  Warwick  lies  in  a  calcareous  country  favour- 
able to  the  production  of  the  shorter  and  finer  kinds  of  wool ; 
and  the  wool  of  the  Old  Warwickshire  Sheep,  in  particular, 
appears  to  have  closely  approximated  to  that  of  the  modern 
Leicesters.  There  is  no  reason,  therefore,  to  assume,  from 
any  of  the  characters  presented  by  the  wool  of  the  New  Lei- 
cester Breed,  that  the  parent  stock  was  any  other  than  the 
Long-woolled  Sheep  of  the  midland  counties. 

The  New  Leicester  Sheep,  though  smaller  in  bulk  of  body 
than  the  long-woolled  races  which  they  supplanted,  are  yet 
of  the  larger  class  of  Sheep  with  respect  to  weight.  Their 
limbs  being  shorter,  and  their  bodies  more  round,  compact, 
and  deep,  than  in  the  former  breeds,  they  are  of  greater 
weight  in  proportion  to  their  apparent  bulk.  Their  actual 
size  is  various,  depending  on  the  wishes  of  breeders  to  pos- 
sess larger  or  smaller  animals,  and  on  the  fertility,  natural 
or  acquired,  of  the  districts  in  which  they  are  reared.  In 
general,  it  may  be  said  that  the  wethers  weigh  from  25  Ib. 
to  35  Ib.  the  quarter,  when  fattened  in  their  second  year. 
The  wool  is  of  medium  length,  having  a  staple  of  from  six  to 
eight  inches,  and  weighing  about  7^  Ib.  the  fleece  in  Sheep 
of  fifteen  or  sixteen  months  old.  It  is  too  short  and  weak 
to  be  admitted  into  the  first  class  of  combing  wools,  and,  in 
the  properties  which  fit  it  for  the  manufacture  of  worsted,  it 
falls  short  of  the  wool  of  the  older  breeds.  Nevertheless  it 
is  more  evenly  grown,  is  soft,  and  of  good  colour,  and  pos- 
sesses several  properties  of  long  wool  in  perfection. 

But  it  is  neither  in  the  size  or  weight  of  body,  nor  in  the 
productiveness  or  quality  of  the  wool,  that  the  real  value  of 
the  New  Leicester  Breed  consists.  Its  value  and  superiority 
are  to  be  found  in  its  more  perfect  form,  and  aptitude  to 
fatten  at  an  early  age,  in  which  respects  it  surpasses  all  the 
other  varieties  of  Long-woolled  Sheep  which  have  been  culti- 
vated in  this  country,  or  naturalized  in  any  part  of  Europe. 
The  New  Leicester  Sheep  can,  under  the  ordinary  manage- 

196  THE  SHEEP. 

ment  of  the  farm,  be  readily  fattened  for  human  food  at  the 
age  of  fifteen  months,  that  is,  when,  in  the  language  of  far- 
mers, they  are  shearlings  ;  and  in  no  case  of  practice  do  they 
need  to  exceed  the  age  of  two  years  and  a  few  months, 
whereas  the  older  breeds  were  not  usually  fattened  for  the 
market  until  late  in  their  third,  or  until  their  fourth  year. 
The  females  are  not  regarded  as  so  prolific  as  those  of  the 
older  breeds,  nor  are  the  lambs  so  hardy  or  quickly  covered 
with  a  coat  of  wool,  nor  are  the  mothers  such  good  nurses ; 
and  yet  the  breed  is  not  deficient  in  these  properties,  except 
where  such  refinement  of  breeding  has  been  practised  as  to 
produce  a  too  delicate  temperament.  In  this  breed  the  hind 
and  fore  quarters  more  nearly  approximate  in  weight  than 
in  the  less  cultivated  varieties.  The  fatty  tissue,  too,  is 
more  equally  spread  over  the  external  muscles,  and  tends  to 
accumulate  less  about  the  kidneys  and  internal  parts,  and 
hence  the  breed  has  never  been  so  much  a  favourite  with  the 
butchers  as  the  less  improved  races.  The  flesh,  as  of  all  the 
long-woolled  breeds,  is  more  lax  in  the  fibre,  and  less  deli- 
cate, than  that  of  the  smaller  breeds  of  the  mountains, 
forests,  and  downs;  but  the  mutton  does  not  seem  in  any 
respect  to  have  been  inferior  to  that  of  the  older  breeds  of 
the  same  class. 

Mr  Bakewell,  it  has  been  said,  early  conceived  the  idea  of 
letting  his  ranis  on  hire  in  place  of  selling  them  to  the 
breeders.  The  animals  were  exhibited  at  Dishley  at  a  stated 
time,  in  the  latter  end  of  July,  or  beginning  of  August;  and 
the  hirers  put  their  own  valuation  on  the  rams  they  selected, 
and  the  offers  were  accepted  or  refused,  without  any  auction. 
Certain  conditions  were  understood  or  stipulated  for,  but  no 
written  legal  agreement  was  made,  every  thing  being  trusted 
to  the  honour  of  the  parties.  About  the  middle  of  Septem- 
ber, the  animals  were  sent  to  their  destination  in  carriages 
hung  on  springs,  and  about  the  beginning  of  December,  the 
hirer  was  expected  to  return  them  in  safety ;  but  if  a  ram 
died  from  any  cause  while  in  the  hands  of  the  hirer,  the  loss 


fell  upon  the  owner.  The  whole  system  manifested  a  won- 
derful degree  of  confidence  and  mutual  good  faith,  and  con- 
tributed, in  an  essential  degree,  to  the  diffusion  of  the  new 
breed.  Contemporaries  and  successors  of  Mr  Bakewell 
adopted  the  same  plan,  and  the  sums  expended  by  distant 
breeders  in  procuring,  by  this  simple  mean,  the  new  breed  of 
which  Leicester  was  the  centre,  were  surprisingly  great. 
Up  to  the  present  time  the  practice  has  been  carried  on  by 
breeders  of  the  first  distinction,  some  of  whom  acquired  the 
unrivalled  stock  of  Bakewell  after  his  death,  and  are  under- 
stood to  have  preserved  it  unmixed  to  the  present  hour.  Nor 
was  this  system  long  confined  to  the  county  of  Leicester,  but 
it  extended  to  other  parts  of  the  kingdom.  Mr  Culley,  who 
had  been  a  pupil  of  Bake  well's,  early  established  it  on  the 
large  scale  in  the  north  of  England,  in  the  county  of  North- 
umberland, and  various  breeders,  whose  stock  had  acquired 
the  necessary  breeding  and  reputation,  adopted  it ;  so  that 
there  was  scarcely  a  district  of  the  Long-woolled  Sheep  in 
which  one  or  more  breeders  did  not  pursue  the  practice  of 
letting  rams.  Not  only  did  the  system  facilitate  the  diffu- 
sion of  the  new  breed,  but  it  contributed  in  an  eminent  de- 
gree to  maintain  its  purity  and  goodness.  It  even  enabled 
a  certain  class  of  breeders  to  direct  attention  to  the  rearing 
of  rams  as  a  distinct  profession,  and  thus  created  a  division 
of  labour  in  the  practice  of  breeding  singularly  conducive  to 
its  perfection. 

The  formation  of  the  New  Leicester  Breed  of  Sheep  may 
be  said  to  form  an  era  in  the  economical  history  of  the  do- 
mestic animals,  and  may  well  confer  distinction  on  the  indi- 
vidual who  had  talent  to  conceive,  and  fortitude  to  perfect, 
the  design.  The  result  was  not  only  the  creation  of  a  breed 
by  art,  but  the  establishment  of  principles  which  are  of  uni- 
versal application  in  the  production  of  animals  for  human 
food.  It  has  shewn  that  there  are  other  properties  than 
size,  and  the  kind  and  abundance  of  the  wool,  which  render 
a  race  of  Sheep  profitable  to  the  breeder ;  that  a  disposition 

198  THE  SHEEP. 

to  assimilate  nourishment  readily,  and  arrive  at  early  ma- 
turity, are  properties  to  be  essentially  regarded  ;  and  that 
these  properties  have  a  constant  relation  to  a  given  form, 
which  can  be  communicated  from  the  parents  to  the  young, 
and  rendered  permanent  by  a  mixture  of  the  blood  of  the 
animals  to  which  this  form  has  been  transmitted.     Bake- 
well,  doubtless,  carried  his  principles  to  the  limits  to  which 
they  could  be  carried  with  safety  and  profit  to  the  owner  of 
Sheep.     Looking  to  symmetry  and  usefulness  of  form  as  the 
essential  characters  to  be  cultivated,  he  was  too  apt  to  re- 
gard the  others,  not  merely  as  secondary,  but  as  unimport- 
ant.    He  is  reported  to  have  said  that  he  did  not  care  whe- 
ther his  Sheep  produced  wool  at  all ;  and  he  endeavoured, 
on  all  occasions,  to  shew  the  inutility  of  size  as  compared 
with  the  fattening  property.      But  a  close  and  abundant 
growth  of  wool,  it  is  known,  is  connected  with  a  healthy 
state  of  the  system,  and  with  the  power  of  the  animals  to 
resist  cold  and  atmospheric  changes ;  and  a  certain  size  is 
found,  by  the  experience  of  all  breeders  of  Sheep,  to  be  an 
element  in  the  profit  to  be  derived  from  them.     Every  owner 
of  Sheep  is  taught  by  the  result,  that  an  animal  of  a  size  to 
fatten  to  40  Ibs.  the  quarter,  is  more  profitable  than  one  that 
is   capable  of  reaching  only  to  30  Ibs.  in  the   same  time. 
Weight  of  body,  therefore,  and  the  nature  and  productive- 
ness of  the  fleece,  are  not  to  be  overlooked  in  the  cultivation 
of  Sheep  ;  and  although  they  may  be  regarded  as  secondary 
properties,  they  cannot  be  held  to  be  unimportant  ones. "  But 
if  Bakewell  carried  his  principles  of  breeding  to  an  extreme, 
there  is  no  reason  why  his  successors  should  not  now  profit 
by  the   knowledge  acquired  by  observation  and  experience, 
and  cultivate  a  profitable  size,  and  suitable  fleece,  as  far  as 
these  consist  with  the  other  properties  sought  for.     Bake- 
well  was  compelled,  in  a  sense,  to  confine  himself  to  his  own 
stock,  and  to  the  blood  of  one  family,  in  order  to  preserve 
that  standard  of  form  which  he  had  produced.     From  the 
subsequent   multiplication    of    the    New   Leicester    Breed, 


modern  breeders  are  relieved  from  all  necessity  of  this  kind. 
They  can  obtain  individuals  of  the  form  required  from  dif- 
feVent  flocks  of  the  same  breed,  and  need  never,  by  a  con- 
tinued adherence  to  the  blood  of  one  family,  produce  animals 
too  delicate  in  form,  deficient  in  weight  of  wool,  and  in  that 
hardiness  and  soundness  of  constitution,  which  are  even  more 
necessary  than  the  perfectness  of  individual  form,  for  the 
safety  and  profit  of  the  breeder.  The  sacrifice  of  the  second- 
ary properties  which  Bakewell  did  not  hesitate  to  make,  was 
the  result  of  circumstances  which  do  not  now  exist ;  and  the 
present  feeling  of  breeders  is  to  maintain  a  larger  and  more 
robust  form  of  the  animals  than  seemed  good  to  the  earlier 
improvers.  Thus,  the  Cotswold  Breed  of  Sheep,  though  far 
inferior  in  form  to  the  pure  New  Leicester,  is  maintaining  a 
successful  rivalship  with  it  over  a  large  extent  of  country  : 
the  lowland  Gloucestershire,  the  Devonshire,  and  many  of 
the  Lincolnshire  agriculturists,  are  propagating  a  larger  race 
than  is  approved  of  by  the  Leicester  breeders  ;  and  even  in 
the  north  of  England,  where  the  Leicester  Breed  was  early 
established,  a  heavier  race  is  preferred  to  the  purest  of  the 
Dishley  stock. 

But  whatever  diversities  of  opinion  may  exist  with  respect 
to  the  degree  of  breeding,  as  it  may  be  called,  which  it  is  ad- 
visable to  communicate  to  the  several  varieties  of  Sheep  now 
comprehended  under  the  common  denomination  of  Leicester, 
no  doubt  can  be  entertained  of  the  great  benefits  conferred  on 
the  breeders  of  the  country  by  the  formation  and  diffusion  of 
the  beautiful  breed  of  Bakewell.  Its  superiority  over  all  the 
older  races  of  the  long-woolled  districts  is  attested  by  the 
degree  in  which  it  supplanted  them,  and  the  eagerness  with 
which  it  was  everywhere  received.  In  less  jthan  fifty  years 
from  the  first  establishment  of  the  shows  of  Dishley,  it  had 
either  superseded  all  the  older  Long-woolled  Sheep  of  the 
country,  or  been  so  mingled  with  them  in  blood,  as  to  have 
effaced  their  former  distinctions.  Not  only  did  it  supplant 
or  become  mixed  with  the  older  races  of  heavy  Sheep,  but, 

200  THE  SHEEP. 

after  a  time,  it  effected  an  important  change  in  a  great  part 
of  the  lighter  Sheep  of  the  country.  In  many  cases  it  has 
become  mixed  in  blood  with  them,  and  in  many  it  has  caused 
a  substitution  of  the  heavy-woolled  for  the  light,  over  large 
tracts  of  the  country,  so  that  entire  districts,  which,  little 
more  than  twenty  years  ago,  were  stocked  with  the  Short- 
woolled  breeds,  have  not  now  one  flock  of  them  remaining. 
In  every  way,  then,  the  diffusion  of  this  breed  has  added  to 
the  value  of  the  live  stock  of  the  country.  It  has  caused  a 
superior  race  of  animals  to  be  reared  in  former  districts  of 
the  Down  arid  Forest  Breeds,  and  extended  over  the  richer 
country  one  more  suited  for  general  cultivation  than  the 
older  and  coarser  races ;  and  has  been  the  means  of  commu- 
nicating to  the  former  varieties  of  Long-woolled  Sheep  a  uni- 
formity of  character  eminently  favourable  to  further  improve- 
ment, by  multiplying  the  animals  of  a  given  breed  which  can 
be  selected  for  breeding.  It  has  even  improved  the  agricul- 
ture of  the  country  in  an  eminent  degree,  by  calling  forth  a 
larger  production  of  forage  and  nerbage  plants,  for  supplying 
food  to  a  superior  race  of  animals. 

Objections  have  been,  from  time  to  time,  urged  against  the 
extension  of  this  breed,  founded  on  its  supposed  inferiority 
in  size,  in  growth  of  wool,  in  hardiness,  and  fecundity  of  the 
females,  to  some  of  the  breeds  which  it  supplanted.  The 
inferiority  in  size  has  been  generally  exaggerated  with  rela- 
tion to  this  breed,  and  in  all  cases  it  produces  a  greater 
weight  with  the  same  bulk  of  body ;  and  even  where  it  is 
deficient  in  weight,  there  has  been  a  compensation  in  that 
tendency  to  arrive  at  an  earlier  maturity,  in  which  it  emi- 
nently excels  all  the  races  which  have  preceded  it.  If  the 
wool  shall  be  less  in  quantity,  or  inferior  in  certain  proper- 
ties, to  that  of  some  of  the  older  varieties,  it  must  not  be  for- 
gotten, that  the  most  esteemed  of  these  varieties,  as  the  Old 
Lincoln  and  Teeswater,  were  not  suited  for  that  extensive 
diffusion,  which  has  given  so  great  a  public  importance  to 
the  breed  of  Bakewell,  and  that  the  extension  of  the  new 

THE  SHEEP.  201 

breed  has  added  prodigiously  to  the  total  quantity  and  value 
of  the  long  wool  produced  in  the  country.  With  respect  to 
the  supposed  deficiency  of  this  breed  in  hardiness,  and  fecun- 
dity of  the  females,  it  is  to  be  observed,  that  this,  where  it 
really  exists,  is  the  result  of  that  refinement  in  breeding 
which  would  equally  affect  any  race  of  Sheep  subjected  to 
the  same  treatment.  The  more  we  remove  a  race  of  animals 
from  the  natural  state,  by  stimulating  the  system  to  an  early 
maturity,  the  more  we  may  expect  them  to  lose  that  hardi- 
ness which  is  proper  to  them  in  a  ruder  condition.  The  New 
Leicester  is  a  breed  of  artificial  formation,  and  its  establish- 
ment and  maintenance  infer  a  certain  advancement  in  agri- 
culture, the  due  supply  of  cultivated  food,  and  that  care  of 
the  animals  which  their  acquired  habits  and  temperament 
demand.  It  is  not  denied  that  the  New  Leicester  breed  is 
more  delicate  and  less  prolific  than  some  of  the  coarser  races 
whose  places  it  has  taken ;  but  these  defects  exist  only  in 
a  degree  to  be  injurious,  where  refinement  of  breeding  is 
carried  to  an  excess  which  every  breeder  has  now  the  power 
to  avoid. 

The  BREEDS  OF  SHEEP  of  the  British  Islands  which  have 
been  generally  referred  to,  or  of  which  particular  descrip- 
tions have  been  given,  may  be  thus  classified : — 

1.  'The  Zetland  and  Orkney  Breeds,  of  the  variety  Irevi- 
cauda. — They  inhabit  the  most  northerly  islands,  and  are  dis- 
tinguished by  their  bearing  a  fleece  of  fine  soft  wool,  largely 
intermixed  with  hairs.     The  purest  of  them  are  found  on  the 
remoter  Islands  of  Zetland.     They  are  hardy,  wild,  and  of 
small  size  ;  and  do  not  merit  extension  beyond  the  countries 
which  they  now  occupy. 

2.  The  Older  Soft-woolled  Sheep  of  Scotland. — They  are 
of  small  weight,  have  long  lank  bodies,  and  bear  a  short  soft 
wool,  fitted  for  the  manufacture  of  flannels,  but  deficient  in 
the  property  of  felting.     These  varieties  are  now  nearly  ex- 

202  THE  SHEEP. 

tinct,  or  confined  to  the  remoter  islands  and  islets  of  the 

3.  The  Sheep  of  Wales,  which  may  be  divided  into  two 
classes ;  1.  The  Sheep  of  the  Higher  Mountains,  horned,  of 
diminutive  size,  usually  of  a  dark  colour,  and  bearing  soft 
wool,  largely  intermixed  with  hairs ;  2.  The  Hornless  Soft- 
woolled  Sheep,  likewise  of  small  size,  bearing  wool  of  a  soft 
texture,  fitted  for  the  manufacture  of  hose  and  flannels,  but 
deficient  in  the  property  of  felting.     To  the  typical  forms  of 
these  races  all  the  Mountain  Sheep  of  Wales  are  more  or 
less  allied.     They  are  valued  for  the  delicacy  of  their  mut- 
ton, and  are  carried  in  numbers  to  the  lower  country,  for  the 
purpose  of  being  fattened.    They  are  hardy,  but  impatient  of 
restraint,  when  removed  from  their  native  pastures.     Allied 
in  their  characters  to  the  Mountain  Breeds  of  Wales  are  the 
Sheep  of  the  Wicklow  Mountains,  now  disappearing  in  the 
pure  state,  from  the  effects  of  crossing. 

4.  The  Kerry  and  other  Sheep  of  the  high  lands  of  Ire- 
land, wild,  slow  in  arriving  at  maturity,  and  producing  a 
fleece   of  medium  softness,  but  irregular,  and  mixed  with 

5.  The  Black-faced  Heath  Breed,  inhabiting  the  central 
chain  of  heathy  mountains  and  moors  which  extend  from 
Derbyshire  northward.    These  sheep  have  long  been  carried 
to  the  mountains  of  Scotland,  and  now  extend  all  northward 
through  the  northern  Highlands  to  the  Pentland  Firth.    They 
are  armed  with  horns,  and  are  the  hardiest  and  boldest  of 
all  the  races  of  British   Sheep.     They  have   dark-coloured 
faces  and  limbs,   and  bear  shaggy  fleeces  of  coarse  wool. 
Their  characters  change  when  they  are  naturalized  in  the  less 
rugged  mountains  and  moors.     In  the  lower  heaths  of  York- 
shire, they  approximate,  through  the  coarse  and  unthrifty 
breed  of  Penistone,  to  the  larger  sheep  of  the  plains  :  in  other 
cases  they  pass  into  the  finer-woolled  sheep  of  the  Commons, 
lower  Heaths,  and  Forests.     They  produce  a  juicy  and  well- 

THE  SHEEP.  203 

flavoured  mutton,  and  are  brought  in  great  numbers  from  the 
mountains,  to  be  fattened  in  the  lower  country. 

6.  The   Cheviot  Breed,  derived  from  a  limited  tract  of 
green  hills  in  the  north  of  England,  and  thence  widely  spread 
over  the  mountainous  districts  of  Scotland,  and  some  parts 
of  England  and  Ireland.     These  sheep  somewhat  exceed  in 
weight  the  Black-faced  Heath  Breed :  they  are  less  robust, 
and  less  suited  to  a  country  of  heaths,  but  yet  they  are 
amongst  the  hardiest  of  our  Mountain  Sheep.    They  are  des- 
titute of  horns  in  both  sexes,  and  bear  wool  of  medium  fine- 
ness, fitted  for  preparation  by  the  card,  and  employed  in  the 
manufacture  of  the  coarser  woollen  cloths. 

7.  The  Old  Norfolk  Breed,  reared  in  the  heathy  parts  of 
the  counties  of  Norfolk,  Suffolk,  and  Cambridge. — They  are 
a  strong  and  agile  race  of  Sheep,  armed  with  horns  in  both 
sexes,  bear  a  clothing  of  wool  of  medium  length,  and  are 
greatly  valued  for  the  excellence  of  their  mutton.    They  pro- 
duce  admirable   crosses   with  the   more  highly  cultivated 
breeds,  and  especially  with  the   South  Down,  from  which 
cause  they  are  rapidly  diminishing  in  numbers  in  the  pure 

8.  The  Breeds  of  the  Older  Forests,  Commons,  and  Chases. 
— These  vary  in  their  aspect,  size,  and  properties,  with  the 
localities  in  which  they  have  been  naturalized.     They  have 
•often  dark  or  gray  faces  and  limbs,  have  sometimes  horns, 
and  are  sometimes  destitute  of  horns,  and  bear,  for  the  most 
part,  a  short   felting  wool.      They  have  been    continually 
diminishing  in  numbers  with  the  appropriation  of  commons 
and  the  improvement  of  the  country,  so  that  few  now  remain 
without  a  mixture  of  the  more  cultivated  breeds.     In  the 
West  of  England,  however,  are   still  to  be  found  the  Dart- 
moor and  Exmoor  breeds  in  considerable  numbers,  the  for- 
mer occupying  the  high  lands  of  Devonshire  in  the  forest  of 
Dartmoor  ;  the  latter,  a  rugged  district  of  limited  extent  at 
the  sources  of  the  river  Exe  in  Somersetshire.     They  are 
both  very  wild  and  hardy  races  of  small  Sheep,  and  differ 


204  THE  SHEEP. 

from  the  other  Forest  Breeds  by  producing  wool  of  medium 
length,  and  more  fitted  for  preparation  by  the  comb  than  the 

9.  The  Ry eland  Breed,  the  remains  of  some  of  the  smaller 
fine-woolled  varieties  of  the  western  counties. — These  Sheep 
are  hornless,  of  small  size,  and  of  good  forms,  patient  of 
scanty  food,  and  productive  of  a  fine  short  felting  wool,  which 
was  long  the  most  esteemed  for  the  making  of  cloth  of  any 
in  England.     This  breed,  from  the  substitution  of  the  larger 
varieties,  and  the  effects  of  crossing,  has  been  long  diminish- 
ing in  numbers,  and  is  now  nearly  extinct. 

10.  The  South  Down  Breed,  derived  from  the  chalky  hills 
of   Sussex    on   the   British  Channel. — It  is   to   be   classed 
amongst  the  Down  and  Forest  Breeds,  but  it  has  been  made 
to   surpass  them  all  by  the  effects  of  breeding  and  careful 
culture.     It  has  been  widely  spread  over  all  the  south-east- 
ern counties  of  England,  and  has  passed  into  districts  be- 
yond the  countries  of  the  Chalk,  taking  the  place  of  the  pre- 
existing breeds  of  the  downs  and  commons.     The  Sheep  of 
this  breed  are  destitute  of  horns,  have  dark-coloured  faces 
and  limbs,  and  produce   a   short  felting  wool  fitted  for  pre- 
paration by  the  card.     Their  size  varies  with  the  locality, 
and  the  taste  and  opinions  of  the  breeders  ;  but  they  are  of 
greater   weight,   and  bear   heavier  fleeces,  than  the  older 
Sheep  of  the  Sussex  Downs.     They  are  adapted  to  a  lower 
range   of  pastures  than  the  Black-faced  Sheep  and  Cheviot 
Breeds,  and  are  better  fitted  for  a  dry  and  temperate  climate 
than  for  a  cold  and  moist  one. 

11.  The  Old  Wiltshire.— This  and  the   other  varieties  of 
the  larger  fine-woolled  Sheep  of  the  central  counties  of  Chalk, 
may  be  said  to  be  now  extinct  beyond  a  few  scattered  rem- 
nants.    They  produced  good  felting  wool,  and  fattened  to  a 
considerable  weight ;  but  they  were   of  coarse  forms,  and 
have  universally  yielded  to  the  progress  of  the  more  highly 
cultivated  Southdowns. 

12.  The  Dorset  and  Pink-nosed  Somerset  Breeds,  natural- 

THE  SHEEP.  205 

ized  in  the  calcareous  district  of  the  south-western  counties. 
They  have  horns  in  both  sexes,  bear  a  clothing  wool  of  me- 
dium quality,  and  are  noted,  beyond  any  other  breed,  for  the 
faculty  of  the  females  to  receive  the  males  at  an  early  sea- 
son. This  latter  property  has  caused  them  to  be  extensively 
cultivated  for  the  rearing  of  house-lambs.  They  have  now 
been  much  diminished  in  numbers  by  the  effects  of  crossing, 
and  the  substitution  of  other  breeds  regarded  as  more  pro- 
fitable. Allied  to  these  varieties  is  the  Isle  of  Portland 
Breed,  of  small  size,  and  of  little  economical  importance  be- 
yond the  narrow  district  which  it  inhabits. 

13.  The  Merino  Breed,  derived  from  the  mountains  of 
Spain,  but  partially  naturalized  in  England. — It  bears  the 

,  finest  wool  of  any  known  race  of  Sheep.  On  account  of  this 
property  it  has  been  extensively  diffused  over  a  great  part  of 
Europe,  and  carried  to  America,  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope, 
and  the  Colonies  of  England  in  Australia.  The  individuals, 
however,  are  of  defective  forms,  of  tender  constitutions,  defi- 
cient in  the  power  of  yielding  milk,  and  slow  in  arriving  at 
maturity.  For  these  reasons,  the  Merino  Breed,  notwith- 
standing the  abundance  and  excellence  of  its  wool,  has  been 
received  with  little  favour  in  England,  and  is  deemed  inferior 
in  value  to  the  more  improved  varieties  of  the  country. 

14.  The  Long-woolled  Sheep,  comprehending,  First,  the 
pure  New  Leicester  Breed ;  and,  Secondly,  the  varieties  more 
or  less  intermixed  with  it  in  blood,  of  which  the  principal  are  : 
1st,  the  larger  class  of  Lincolnshire  Sheep  ;  2d,  the  Romney 
Marsh  Breed  ;  3d,  the  Cotswold  Breed  ;  4th,  the  Devonshire 
Notts  ;  bth,  the  Long-woolled  Irish  varieties.    All  these  Sheep 
are  of  large  size,  are  destitute  of  horns  in  both  sexes,  and  bear 
long  wool,  unsuited  for  preparation  by  the  card,  but  eminently 
fitted  for  preparation  by  the  comb,  and  the  manufacture  of 
stuffs  termed  Worsted.     They  are  the  kinds  of  Sheep  more 
especially  adapted  to  the  plains,  and  the  districts  where  arti- 
ficial food  can  be  reared  in  the  necessary  quantity.     They 
have  been  continually  increasing  in  numbers  with  the  exten- 

206  THE  SHEEP. 

sion  of  tillage  and  the  general  improvement  of  agriculture. 
Of  the  several  varieties,  the  New  Leicester  Breed  occupies 
the  first  class  with  respect  to  form  and  the  aptitude  to  fatten 
readily.  The  larger  Lincolnshire,  the  Romney  Marsh,  the 
Cotswold,  and  the  improved  Devonshire  Breeds,  have  each 
properties  which  render  their  cultivation  profitable  under 
particular  circumstances.  The  Irish  varieties  have  not  yet 
generally  attained  to  the  perfection  at  which  the  others  have 



The  important  family  of  which  the  common  Ox  may  be 
regarded  as  typical,  divides  itself  into  three  groups, — the 
BISONTINE,  the  BUB  ALINE,  and  the  TAURINE.  The  Bisons 
inhabit  both  the  Old  and  New  Continents,  and  are  distin- 
guished by  round  smooth  horns,  and  a  musky  odour  which 
exhales  from  the  skin.  The  Buffaloes  are  characterized  by 
angular  horns,  and  a  fainter  odour  of  musk,  and  are  natives 
of  the  warmer  regions  of  Asia  and  Africa.  The  Taurine 
group,  comprehending  the  common  Ox  and  its  different  races, 
forms  the  most  important  division  of  Bovidee. 

208  THE  OX. 

The  EUROPEAN  BISON,  Bison  Europceus,  which  once 
abounded  in  the  great  forests  of  Europe,  is  a  fierce  and 
powerful  creature.  He  is  the  fiusuv  of  the  Greeks,  the  Bison 
of  the  Latins,  the  Wisent  of  the  Older  Germans,  the  Zubr 
of  the  Poles,  and  the  Zub  of  the  Arabians.  He  for- 
merly abounded  in  the  Hercynian  and  Sarmatian  forests, 
and  was  regarded  as  the  largest  of  the  quadrupeds  indige- 
nous to  Europe.  But,  like  many  animal  species,  the  great 
Bison  of  Europe  seems  doomed  to  perish  under  a  condition 
of  countries  that  is  no  longer  suited  to  him.  He  merely 
lingers  in  a  portion  of  the  vast  regions  of  forest  which  he 
once  inhabited.  He  is  found  in  herds  in  the  marshy  forest 
of  Bialowieza  in  Poland,  where  he  is  protected  by  the  Go- 
vernment of  Russia.  He  does  not  wander  beyond  the  woods 
where  he  yet  lingers,  because  it  is  probable  the  sustenance 
which  suits  him  is  not  to  be  found  in  another  habitat ;  and 
even  in  this  retreat,  he  would  probably  cease  to  exist,  were 
it  not  for  the  care  used  in  supplying  him  with  food  during 
the  snows  of  winter. 

Bisons  are  still  found  in  considerable  herds  in  the  woods 
of  the  Caucasus.  According  to  the  recent  travels  of  Nord- 
man,  they  exist  in  the  greatest  numbers  from  the  Kuban  to 
the  Psib.  In  some  places  they  inhabit  the  mountains  in 
summer ;  in  others,  they  are  met  with  in  swampy  places  all 
the  year  round.  They  are  killed  by  the  natives,  and  their 
horns,  formed  into  drinking  cups,  are  used  by  the  wild  chief- 
tains of  the  country.  A  large  kind  of  Bison  is  likewise  found 
in  British  India ;  but  whether  it  is  identical  with  the  Bisons 
of  Western  Asia  and  Europe,  or  a  distinct  species,  has  not 
been  determined.  It  is  termed  Gaur  by  the  natives,  and  by 
some  naturalists  Bos  gaurus.  It  has  been  hitherto  found  in 
the  thick  jungles  in  the  western  confines  of  the  provinces  of 
Bengal  and  Bahar.  It  is  often  killed  by  British  sportsmen, 
but  of  the  young  none  has  yet  been  captured.  The  villagers 
have  a  superstitious  terror  of  these  creatures,  and  cannot  be 
persuaded  to  go  in  search  of  the  calves ;  believing  that,  if 

HISTORY.  209 

the  Gaurs  are  in  any  way  molested,  they  will  attack  the  per- 
sons disturbing  them,  and  never  quit  them  till  they  have  put 
them  to  death. 

The  European  Bison  is  a  large  animal,  equalling  in  stature 
the  tallest  of  the  domestic  oxen  of  the  countries  he  inhabits. 
His  head  is  broad,  and  the  forehead  bulging ;  the  horns  are 
round,  thick,  black,  and  of  a  hard  consistence,  arid  larger  in 
the  male  than  in  the  female :  the  eye  is  small,  and  its  usual 
character  is  placid  ;  but  when  the  animal  is  roused  to  anger, 
the  pupil  narrows  to  a  slit,  the  coat  becomes  inflamed,  and 
all  the  expression  indicates  blind  fury  and  madness.  The 
tongue  is  covered  with  tubercles,  and,  together  with  the  lips, 
gums,  and  palate,  is  blue.  The  trunk  and  hinder  parts  of 
the  body  are  relatively  slender,  the  shoulders  thick,  and  in 
the  adult  male  the  spines  are  so  lengthened  as  to  form  withers. 
The  skin  is  exceedingly  thick,  and  emits  the  odour  of  musk. 
The  trunk,  down  to  the  knees,  is  covered  with  woolly  hair, 
the  top  of  the  head,  neck,  and  shoulder,  with  long  hair  mixed 
with  frizzled  wool,  forming  a  mane,  and  from  the  chine  to  the 
chest  is  a  kind  of  beard.  The  tail  comes  below  the  hocks,  and 
at  its  extremity  is  furnished  with  a  brush  of  long  bristly 
hairs.  The  female  has  smaller  horns  than  the  male,  and 
less  elevated  withers.  Though  a  large  animal,  she  has  an 
udder  smaller  than  that  of  the  least  of  the  domestic  Cows. 

These  creatures  are  ferocious,  strong,  and  fearless  of  ene- 
mies. They  hold  their  heads  low,  are  swift  of  foot,  but  are 
soon  worn  out,  seldom  running  farther  than  one  or  two  Eng- 
lish miles.  They  swim  with  facility,  and  delight  to  cool  them- 
selves in  water.  Their  favourite  places  of  resort  are  thickets 
near  the  swampy  banks  of  rivers.  In  the  warmer  season 
they  frequent  shadowy  spots  ;  in  winter  they  keep  quiet  during 
the  day,  in  the  thickets  of  firs  and  pines,  browsing  only  at 
night,  and  finding  sustenance  on  the  bark  of  young  trees. 
The  thrusts  of  an  old  bull  will  overturn  trees  of  five  or  six 
inches  diameter.  An  old  bull,  we  are  informed,  is  a  match 


210  THE  OX. 

for  four  wolves,  though  packs  of  the  latter  animal  will  hunt 
down  a  full-grown  bull  when  alone.* 

Like  all  the  Bovine  race  in  a  state  of  nature,  they  avoid 
the  dangerous  approach  of  man.  When  suddenly  come  upon, 
they  rush  upon  the  intruder  with  fury.  When  taken  young, 
they  become  used  to  their  keepers,  but  resent  the  intrusion 
of  strangers,  and  seem  incapable  of  resigning  their  natural 
wildness,  and  submitting  to  domestication.  They  abhor  the 
domestic  races,  shunning  them,  or  goring  them  to  death. 
Four  young  ones,  captured  in  the  forest  of  Bialowieza,  af- 
forded to  M.  Gilbert,  who  had  long  resided  in  Poland,  op- 
portunities of  observing  their  habits.  They  refused  to  take 
the  milk  of  the  cow,  but  at  length  submitted  to  be  suckled  by 
a  she-goat,  raised  on  a  table  to  the  level  of  their  muzzles. 
When  satisfied,  they  sometimes  tossed  the  nurse  and  the 
table  to  the  distance  of  several  feet.  The  two  males  died 
within  a  month.  The  females  survived  :  they  became  docile 
and  obedient  to  their  keeper,  licking  his  hands,  rubbing  his 
body  gently  with  their  heads  and  muzzles,  and  coming  to 
him  when  they  heard  his  voice.  They  hated  the  sight  of 
scarlet,  and  drove  all  the  common  cows  from  their  pastures. 
They  came  into  season  at  the  age  of  two  years,  and  rejected 
the  approaches  of  the  domestic  bull. 

The  forest  in  which  these  creatures  are  preserved,  con- 
tains about  352  geographical  square  miles,  of  which  about 
one-sixth  part  consists  of  rushy  swamps,  and  is  intersected 
by  numerous  rivulets,  and  by  one  considerable  river.  The 
number  of  Bisons  consists,  at  present,  of  about  700 :  they 
are  protected  by  the  Government,  and  are  only  suffered  to  be 
killed  in  small  numbers,  by  especial  permission.  When  the 
wolves  are  to  be  hunted,  it  is  done  with  caution,  and  by  a 
small  number  of  dogs  ;  and  any  noisy  occupations  which 
might  disturb  the  animals,  are  prohibited  within  the  forest.f 

*  Weissenborn,  Magazine  of  Natural  History.  f   \Veissenborn. 

HISTORY.  211 

From  the  habits  of  this  creature,  his  indoeility,  and  the  in- 
stinctive aversion  to  the  domestic  races,  it  will  appear  that  he 
is  not  one  of  those  animals  which  Providence  has  ordained  to 
yield  up  their  services  to  man,  and  become  an  instrument  of 
good  to  our  race.  He  is  rather  to  be  numbered  amongst 
those  which  are  destined  to  disappear  before  the  progress  of 
civilization  and  the  arts.  By  a  rare  chance,  human  interfer- 
ence has  saved  the  wreck  of  the  species  in  Europe  from  that 
destruction  which  awaited  it ;  but  this  can  only  be  for  a 
season,  and  the  time  will  doubtless  come,  when  the  great 
Bison  of  the  European  woods  will  be  numbered  with  those 
extinct  species,  whose  bones  alone  remain  to  testify  their 
former  existence. 

The  next  to  be  mentioned  of  the  Bisontine  group  is  proper 
to  another  hemisphere,  and  was  only  made  known  to  us  when 
the  rich  savannahs  and  boundless  forests  of  the  Western  Con- 
tinent revealed  their  living  inhabitants  to  the  wondering  eyes 
of  European  travellers.  The  AMERICAN  BISON,  Bison  Ame- 
ricanus,  commonly,  but  erroneously,  termed  a  Buffalo,  re- 
sembles the  Bison  of  Europe  in  his  general  form,  and  in  some 
of  his  habits.  His  head  is  large  ;  his  forehead  is  broad 
and  convex;  his  horns  are  short,  thick,  and  black;  his 
eyes  are  small,  clear,  and  piercing,  with  a  placid  expres- 
sion, except  when  he  is  irritated,  and  then  the  expression 
turns  to  that  of  ferocity  and  rage.  He  is  very  bulky  in 
front,  and  has  large  withers,  to  which  powerful  muscles 
are  attached  to  support  his  ponderous  head.  The  back 
droops  from  the  withers,  and  the  posterior  part  of  the  body 
is  meagre  and  thin.  On  the  summit  of  his  head  there  is 
an  abundance  of  long  woolly  hair,  which  hangs  over  the 
face,  the  ears,  and  the  horns.  The  throat,  the  neck,  the 
shoulders,  and  the  breast,  are  covered  with  long  hair ;  the 
back,  and  the  rest  of  the  trunk,  are  covered  with  short  hairy 
wool.  The  colour  of  his  fur  is,  in  summer,  a  light  brown,  in 
winter  a  brownish-black.  The  tail  is  about  eighteen  inches 

212  THE  OX. 

long,  terminated  by  a  tuft  of  hair.  The  female  is  smaller 
than  the  male,  and  has  shorter  horns,  and  less  of  hair  on  the 
anterior  parts.  The  male,  when  fully  grown,  has  been  some- 
times found  to  weigh  2000  lb.,  though  the  average  weight  is 
said  to  be  12  or  14  cwt. 

This  is  a  very  strong  and  agile  creature,  making  its  way 
with  great  swiftness  through  tangled  brushwood  and  heaps 
of  snow.  He  is  more  irritable  than  dangerous,  and  flies  from 
the  sight  of  the  hunter.  When  attacked  by  large  dogs,  he 
defends  himself  with  courage.  If  his  enemies  catch  him  by 
his  shaggy  coat,  he  tosses  them  overhead  in  an  instant. 
Should  they  succeed  in  pinning  him  by  the  nose,  after  the 
manner  of  attack  by  the  bull-dog,  he  spreads  his  fore-legs, 
and  brings  his  hind-feet  forward  till  he  treads  the  dog  be- 
neath him.  He  then  tears  his  head  loose,  regardless  of  the 
wound,  and  crushes  his  enemy  beneath  his  feet.  These  animals 
are  eminently  gregarious  and  migratory.  They  feed  on  the 
herbage  of  plains,  and  the  sedgy  plants  of  morasses  and 
swamps.  They  are  fond  of  salt,  and  travel  great  distances  to 
the  saline  springs  which  yield  this  condiment :  they  swim 
with  ease,  crossing  the  most  rapid  rivers  :  they  delight  in 
coolness  and  moisture,  bathing  in  pools  and  lakes  during  the 
heat  of  summer  :  in  the  winter  season  they  dig  the  snow 
with  their  feet,  that  they  may  reach  the  plants  beneath.  They 
inhabit  the  temperate  parts  of  North  America,  congregating 
in  herds,  in  the  woods  and  vast  plains  and  savannahs  where 
they  feed.  In  summer  they  migrate  northward,  and  then  it 
is  that  they  are  seen  in  those  prodigious  herds  that  strike 
the  traveller  with  wonder.  The  countless  multitude  seems 
to  darken  the  plain,  and  stretch  to  the  horizon.  Captains 
Lewis  and  Clark,  on  one  occasion,  mention  that  the  moving 
mass  which  they  beheld  could  not  be  less  than  20,000  in 
number.  At  another  time,  they  saw  a  herd  crossing  the 
Missouri,  which,  though  the  river  was  a  mile  in  breadth, 
stretched  across  it  from  side  to  side  as  thick  as  the  animals 
could  swim. 

HISTORY.  213 

The  paths  they  make  to  the  pools  of  fresh  water  or  saline 
springs  which  they  frequent,  are  often  as  numerous  and  trod- 
den as  the  highways  of  a  peopled  country  ;  and  all  travellers 
in  the  western  countries  speak  with  amazement  of  the  traces 
of  their  numbers.  They  retire  to  the  boundless  wilds  of  the 
interior  before  the  progress  of  the  settler,  and  from  the  per- 
secution of  the  chase.  Formerly  they  were  to  be  found  to 
the  eastward  of  the  Apalachian  Mountains  ;  but  they  are  now 
driven  to  the  remoter  wilderness  towards  the  Ohio,  the  Mis- 
souri, and  west  of  the  Mississippi  on  the  south.  They  are  the 
subjects  of  incessant  attack  and  pursuit  by  the  Indian  tribes, 
who  feed  upon  their  flesh,  and  make  cloaks,  sandals,  and  other 
fabrics,  of  their  hides.  They  are  often  slaughtered  in  vast 
numbers  together.  Sometimes  they  are  driven  in  crowds  into 
ravines,  and  to  the  edges  of  precipices,  where  they  are  killed 
by  lances  and  other  missiles.  Sometimes,  the  grass  being 
set  fire  to,  the  herd  is  encompassed  and  thrown  into  confu- 
sion, and  all  other  means  which  their  savage  persecutors  can 
devise  are  employed  to  entrap  and  destroy  them.  This  fright- 
ful carnage  cuts  off  by  degrees  the  sources  of  the  future  sup- 
ply ;  and  the  time  may  come  when  this  marvel  of  the  Ameri- 
can wilderness  will  be  as  rare  to  be  seen  as  the  Bison  of  the 
Lithuanian  forests. 

Of  the  fitness  of  this  creature  for  domestication  no  doubt 
can  exist.  He  is  the  native  Ox  of  America :  and  had  the 
country  been  inhabited  by  civilized  communities,  in  place  of 
tribes  of  savage  hunters,  a  creature  so  formed  by  Nature 
for  the  service  of  man  could  not  have  remained  unsubdued. 
He  is  far  more  docile  than  the  Bison  of  Europe,  and  mani- 
fests no  antipathy  to  the  domestic  race.  He  breeds  with 
the  latter ;  but  how  far  the  mixed  progeny  would  be  fruitful 
with  one  another,  has  not.  it  is  believed,  been  determined. 
He  is  tamed  with  great  facility,  and  manifests  no  ferocity. 
Numbers  are  sometimes  separated  from  the  herd  by  the 
back- woodsmen  of  the  United  States,  driven  long  journeys, 
and  brought  in,  perfectly  subdued,  to  the  American  towns,  to 

214  THE  OX. 

be  disposed  of  to  the  inhabitants.  It  is  said  that  they  are 
sometimes  kept  on  the  farms  of  Kentucky,  \vhere  the  objec- 
tions to  them  are, — that  the  cow  yields  a  small  quantity  of 
milk,  and  of  a  musky  flavour  ;  and  that  she  is  restless,  leap- 
ing the  barriers  intended  to  confine  her,  and  enticing  "the 
other  cattle  to  follow  her  to  the  woods.  The  flesh  of  the 
animal  is  reckoned  good,  and  in  an  especial  degree  the  tongue, 
and  fleshy  hump  upon  the  shoulder.  The  hair  has  so  much 
of  the  woolly  character,  that  it  may  be  woven  into  cloth,  or 
formed  into  hats  by  the  felting  process  :  the  skin  is  very 
thick,  and  when  tanned,  or  else  with  the  wrool  upon  it,  forms 
a  warm  covering,  used  by  the  Indians  for  cloaks  and  blankets. 
But  the  chief  value  of  the  domesticated  Bison,  it  may  be  be- 
lieved, would  be  for  the  purposes  of  labour,  for  which  his 
agility  and  the  great  strength  of  his  shoulders  seem  pecu- 
liarly to  adapt  him.  A  farmer  on  the  great  Kenhawa,  we 
are  informed  by  Mr  Bingley,  broke  a  young  Bison  to  the 
yoke  :  the  animal  performed  his  work  to  admiration,  and  the 
only  fault  his  master  had  to  find  with  him  was,  that  his  pace 
was  too  quick  for  the  steer  with  which  he  was  yoked. 

Beyond  the  range  of  the  American  Bison,  and  stretching 
into  regions  of  everlasting  ice,  is  the  habitat  of  another  spe- 
cies of  Bison,  suited  to  other  conditions  of  temperature  and 
food.  The  MUSK  Ox,  Ovibos  moschatus,  first  appears  about 
the  60th  degree  of  northern  latitude,  and  thence  is  found  to 
the  very  extremity  of  the  American  continent,  wandering  in 
search  of  food  to  the  dreary  islands  beyond  it  during  the  brief 
space  of  the  arctic  vegetation.  This  creature  is  about  the 
size  of  the  little  Ox  of  the  most  northerly  Highlands  of  Scot- 
land. He  has  no  muzzle,  or  naked  space  around  the  nose 
and  lips,  like  the  Common  Ox  and  Bison,  but,  like  the  Sheep, 
he  is  covered  to  the  lips  with  hair  ;  and  hence  the  genus  has 
been  termed  Ovibos,  as  partaking  of  the  character  of  the  Ox 
and  the  Sheep.  His  horns,  broad  at  the  base,  covering  the 
upper  part  of  the  forehead,  and  bending  downward,  and  then 
upward,  enable  him  to  defend  himself  against  the  Bear  and 

HISTORY.  215 

the  Wolf.  To  protect  him  from  the  cold,  he  is  enveloped 
from  head  to  foot  in  a  dense  fur,  consisting  partly  of  hair  and 
partly  of  wool.  The  long  hair  almost  trails  to  the  ground, 
and  underneath  is  a  thick  coat  of  delicate  wool,  of  which  fabrics 
like  the  finest  silk  may  be  formed.  He  has  short  muscular 
limbs  and  hoofs,  like  those  of  the  Rein-deer,  and  he  is  endowed 
with  great  activity,  scaling  the  icy  rocks  of  the  country  when 
pursued.  He  feeds  partly  on  grasses  and  partly  on  lichens, 
and  he  is  usually  seen  browsing  in  small  herds  or  bands. 
His  skin  emits  the  strong  odour  of  musk.  Though  suited, 
perhaps,  to  perform  the  same  services  as  the  Rein-deer,  he 
has  never  been  subjected  to  servitude.  He  is  hunted  by  the 
rude  Indians  for  his  skin  and  flesh,  which  last  is  hard,  lean, 
and  tainted  with  the  flavour  of  musk.  The  Esquimaux,  Avhose 
country  he  inhabits  along  with  the  Rein-Deer,  cover  their 
heads  and  faces  with  his  long  hair,  to  defend  them  from  the 
bites  of  musquitoes.  They  eat  his  flesh,  and  devour  the  con- 
tents of  his  paunch,  which  is  filled  with  the  lichens  and  other 
plants  on  which  he  feeds.* 

A  like  form  of  the  Bison  seems  to  have  extended  westward 
into  Asia,  by  Behring's  Staits,  along  the  shores  of  the  Icy 
Ocean.  But  the  osseous  remains  of  this  animal  alone  exist, 
and  naturalists  have  not  determined  whether  he  was  identi- 
cal with  the  species  of  America,  or  distinct  from  it.  His 
habitat  shews  that  he  was,  like  it,  formed  to  brave  the  rigour 
of  the  coldest  climates  of  the  globe. 

Proceeding  southward  into  Central  Asia,  another  species 
of  the  Bisontine  family  appears,  with  habits  which  adapt  him 
to  the  services  of  man.  This  creature  is  the  Yak  of  the  Tar- 
tar nations,  the  Bos  gruniens  of  modern  naturalists,  so  named 
on  account  of  the  sound  of  his  voice,  which,  like  that  of  other 
Bisons,  resembles  the  grunting  of  the  Hog.  This  animal  is 
found,  both  in  the  wild  and  the  domesticated  state,  extending 
from  the  mountains  of  Thibet,  through  the  vast  countries  of 

*  Richardson,  Faun.  Bor.  Araer. 

216  THE  OX. 

the  Kalmuk  and  Mongolian  nations,  to  the  Pacific  Ocean. 
In  the  wild  state  his  chief  habitat  is  near  the  chain  of  snowy 
mountains  separating  India  from  Tartary. 

This  species  of  Bison  is  about  the  size  of  the  lesser  breeds 
of  Oxen  in  Britain  ;  but  he  is  of  a  stout  form,  with  short  mus- 
cular limbs.  He  has  fourteen  pairs  of  ribs  like  the  European 
Bison,  and  the  anterior  spines  of  his  back  are  so  lengthened 
as  to  form  withers.  He  is  armed  with  short  and  smooth 
horns,  which  frequently  are  wanting :  they  are  black,  or  white, 
or  white  tipped  with  black,  and  bend  upwards  at  the  points. 
His  muzzle  is  narrow,  and  covered  with  hairs,  approaching 
in  this  respect  to  the  character  of  the  Ovibos.  He  is  thickly 
clothed  with  hair  and  wool,  to  protect  him  from  the  cold  of 
the  elevated  country  which  he  inhabits.  On  the  forehead,  the 
hair  is  short  and  curling ;  on  the  back,  long,  pendent,  and 
mixed  with  wool ;  and  along  the  spine  runs  a  kind  of  mane, 
The  tail  reaches  to  the  heels,  and  is  covered  with  long,  fine 
hairs,  giving  to  the  animal  the  aspect  of  an  ox  with  a  horse's 
tail :  hence  he  has  been  sometimes  termed  the  Horse-tailed 
Buffalo.  The  colour  of  the  hair  varies  in  the  domesticated 
race  ;  it  is  usually  black,  or  brownish-black,  but  other  parts 
of  the  body  are  white,  as  the  legs,  the  back,  and  the  fine  and 
graceful  tail.  The  height  of  the  animals  at  the  withers  is 
said  to  be  about  three  feet  ten  inches,  but  there  must  be 
great  variations  in  size ;  for,  in  the  British  Museum,  there  is 
preserved  the  tail  of  a  Yak,  which  measures  six  feet  in 

The  Yaks,  in  their  state  of  nature,  seem  to  prefer  the  woods 
of  mountains  to  the  valleys  and  open  plains,  and,  like  other 
Bisons,  to  seek  the  neighbourhood  of  rivers,  lakes,  and  pools  ; 
arid  this  fondness  for  an  aquatic  situation  they  retain  in  the 
domestic  state,  wallowing  in  pools  when  occasion  offers,  and 
swimming  when  they  come  to  rivers.  They  have  a  some- 
what gloomy  aspect,  and  are  said  to  be  suspicious  of  strangers, 

*  Griffith's  Animal  Kingdom. 

HISTORY.  217 

and  are  even  dangerous  to  be  approached.  Thus  travellers 
on  advancing  to  the  Tartar  camps,  have  seen  the  herd  ap- 
proach as  if  to  make  an  attack,  whisking  their  long  tails,  and 
tossing  their  heads  in  a  menacing  manner. 

This  species  is  the  only  kind  of  cattle  cultivated  by  many 
of  the  Kalmuk  tribes,  and  even  by  some  of  the  Western 
Tartars.  Tt  seems  to  be  well  adapted  to  the  condition  of 
those  elevated  plains,  where  continual  changes  of  place  are 
required  to  afford  fresh  pasturage  for  the  flocks  and  herds 
of  the  communities.  The  Yaks  are  well  suited  for  these  fre- 
quent journeyings,  being  hardy,  sure-footed,  and  capable  of 
bearing  burdens.  The  natives  make  tents  and  ropes  of  their 
hair,  and  coverings  of  their  skins.  The  milk  of  the  female 
is  plentiful  and  good,  yielding  excellent  butter.  Thus  the 
Yak  is  a  valuable  animal  in  those  countries  of  migratory 
herdsmen,  yielding  at  the  same  time  food  and  the  means  of 
transport.  A  profitable  trade,  too,  is  pursued  by  the  Tartars 
in  the  white  tails  which  many  of  the  oxen  produce.  These 
tails  are  dyed  of  various  beautiful  colours,  and  are  in  request 
over  all  the  East.  They  form  the  standards  of  the  Persians 
and  Turks :  they  are  used  in  India  and  Persia  as  chouries 
or  fly-fans,  for  which  purpose  they  are  supplied  with  ivory 
handles  finely  carved  :  they  are  used  as  ornaments  for  the 
harnessing  of  elephants  and  horses  :  the  Chinese  dye  the 
hair  of  a  beautiful  red,  and  form  it  into  tufts  for  their  bon- 

The  next  in  order  of  the  Bovidse  is  the  BUBALINE  group, 
distinguished  hy  a  narrow  convex  forehead,  higher  than  wide, 
and  by  angular,  not  rounded,  horns.  The  general  aspect  of 
these  animals  is  clumsy,  their  limbs  are  strong,  their  muzzle 
is  broad,  their  ears  are  large  and  pendent ;  their  hide  is  thick, 
usually  coal-black,  partially  covered  with  hairs,  and  in  the 
warmer  countries  nearly  destitute  of  hairs.  They  are  fond 
of  water,  and,  like  Hogs,  wallow  in  moist  and  miry  places. 
The  female  has  four  mammae,  but  two  sometimes  are  not  de- 

218  THE  OX. 

Of  Buffaloes  in  the  state  of  nature,  there  seem  to  be  more 
than  one  species  which  have  not  been  sufficiently  described. 
One  of  these,  inhabiting  the  forests  of  India,  is  of  great  size 
and  strength,  with  horns  of  enormous  length.  No  live  speci- 
men of  this  animal  has  yet  been  brought  to  Europe,  but  the 
head  and  horns  have  been  obtained,  and  are  to  be  found  in 
various  museums  in  England.  The  horns  are  of  a  crescent 
form,  and  have  been  obtained  six  feet  in  length,  measuring  a 
foot  and  a  half  in  circumference  at  the  base,  and  covering 
from  point  to  point  a  space  of  ten  feet.  The  skin  of  this  ani- 
mal is  covered  with  hair,  in  which  respect  it  differs  from 
others  of  the  genus,  and  the  tail  extends  no  lower  than  the 
hock.  It  is  surprising  that  various  naturalists  should  main- 
tain that  this  species  is  identical  with  the  Common  Buffalo. 
The  widest  differences  of  external  form  must  be  disregarded 
in  discriminating  species,  if  such  an  opinion  can  be  sustained. 
This  gigantic  creature  has  been  seen  and  killed  by  British 
sportsmen,  and  is  certainly  distinct  from  the  Common  Buf- 
falo. He  is  the  Bos  Ami  of  Shaw  ;  the  Gigantic  Arnee  of 
travellers  and  writers.  Another  variety  of  Arnee  is  more 
abundant,  and  congregates  in  herds.  His  horns  are  very 
long,  and  have  likewise  a  crescent  form.  Droves  of  them 
are  to  be  seen  floating  in  the  Ganges,  suffering  themselves 
to  be  carried  by  the  current  to  the  creeks  and  islands  where 
they  feed.  But  whether  this  creature  differs  from  the  other 
in  any  other  respect  than  age,  has  not  been  determined. 

The  COMMON  BUFFALO,  Bos  bubalus,  Linn.,  inhabits  the 
marshy  forests  of  India.  These  creatures  are  found,  both  in 
the  wild  and  the  tame  state,  throughout  Hindostan  and  other 
countries  of  the  East.  They  run  with  their  heads  held  in 
a  horizontal  position,  so  that  their  horns  rest  upon -their 
shoulders.  Though  more  or  less  independent  in  their  habits, 
they  yet  assemble  in  herds  for  mutual  protection,  or  when  in 
search  of  food.  They  avoid  the  short  herbage  of  hills,  pre- 
ferring the  coarser  plants  of  moist  woods  and  marshy  plains. 
They  delight  in  water :  they  float  upon  the  current,  and  cross 

HISTORY.  219 

without  hesitation  arms  of  the  sea  and  the  broadest  rivers. 
They  are  seen  to  dive  as  they  swim,  and  drag  up  by  their  horns 
the  aquatic  plants  on  which  they  feed.  In  the  domesticated 
state,  they  retain  the  love  of  moist  situations  ;  they  haunt  the 
banks  of  rivers  ;  they  love  to  wallow  in  pools  and  swamps  ; 
and  will  lie  for  hours  in  mud,  or  sunk,  their  heads  alone 
visible,  beneath  the  water  of  pools.  Whole  herds  are  to  be 
seen  crossing  the  Euphrates  or  the  Nile,  their  keepers  direct- 
ing them,  and  stepping  from  back  to  back  as  on  a  floating 
raft.  Their  sense  of  smell  is  acute,  and  they  are  persever- 
ing in  pursuit  of  assailants.  They  are  fierce  when  irritated, 
and  will  not  turn  from  their  enemies.  Even  the  Tiger  dreads 
their  formidable,  strength.  When  brought  to  fight  with  other 
animals  in  the  arena,  to  afford  a  cruel  pastime  to  Indian 
princes,  the  courage  of  the  Tiger  quails  the  instant  the  Buf- 
falo enters  the  arena  :  he  would  willingly  shun  the  combat ; 
while  the  Buffalo,  excited  to  fury  at  the  sight  of  his  natural 
enemy,  bends  his  head  level  with  the  ground,  that  his  horns 
may  be  in  a  position  to  strike,  and  rushes,  notwithstanding 
the  wounds  he  receives,  on  his  terrible  opponent.  These 
powerful  animals  seem  to  be  insensible  of  fear.  When  they 
fight,  they  strive  to  lift  their  enemy  on  their  horns,  and  when 
he  is  thrown  down,  to  crush  him  to  death  with  their  knees. 
Their  fury  then  seems  to  be  insatiable  :  they  trample  on  the 
mangled  body  of  their  victim,  and  return  again  and  again  as 
if  to  glut  their  vengeance.  They  have  a  memory  tenacious 
of  wrongs,  and  will  resent  them  when  occasion  offers.  In- 
stances are  known,  when,  after  having  been  brutally  forced 
by  their  keeper  to  tasks  beyond  their  strength,  they  have 
seized  the  first  opportunity  to  rush  upon  their  tyrant  and  put 
him  to  death.  Like  all  the  Bovine  family,  they  are  roused 
to  fury  by  the  sight  of  scarlet  and  bright  colours. 

The  Buffalo  is  a  creature  of  vast  strength,  which,  in  the 
state  of  servitude,  he  exercises  in  the  pulling  of  loads  and 
the  bearing  of  burdens.  -  In  this  respect  he  far  surpasses  any 
other  of  the  Bovine  family.  When  yoked  in  rude  waggons 

220  THE   OX. 

and  cars,  he  drags  them  through  miry  tracks,  swamps,  and 
shallow  rivers,  with  a  force  which  no  other  animal  but  the 
Elephant  could  exert,  and  performs  tasks  of  continued  labour, 
under  which  the  strongest  horses  and  bullocks  would  sink 
down  and  die.  His  pace,  however,  is  measured  and  slow, 
and  unless  he  is  cooled  and  largely  supplied  with  water,  he 
becomes  feeble,  and  subject  to  mortal  diseases.  He  may  be 
termed  the  Camel  of  a  country  of  marshes,  but  he  would 
perish  under  the  toils  and  thirst  of  an  arid  country.  Though 
retaining,  in  the  state  of  servitude,  the  sullen  aspect  and  sus- 
picious character  which  are  natural  to  him,  he  yet  can  be  re- 
duced to  complete  subjection.  He  is  managed  by  a  ring,  or 
simply  by  a  rope,  passed  through  the  cartilage  of  his  nose. 
Much  of  his  acquired  docility  depends  upon  education  and 
treatment.  In  Eastern  countries,  where  he  is  used  with 
gentleness,  and  carefully  instructed,  he  manifests  an  intelli- 
gence in  which  no  other  oxen  surpass  him,  and  becomes  so 
gentle,  that  he  may  be  'guided  by  a  child  in  all  the  labours  of 
the  field. 

The  flesh  of  the  Buffalo  is  hard  and  coarse,  and  could  not 
be  endured  in  countries  where  a  value  is  set  upon  delicate 
animal  food.  His  skin  is  esteemed  for  its  thickness  and  dura- 
bility, surpassing  greatly  in  this  respect  the  hide  of  the  Ox. 
It  is  so  tough  that  it  is  used  for  defensive  armour  by  the 
Javanese  and  other  people  of  the  Indian  islands.  The  milk 
of  the  female  is  nutritive  and  well-tasted ;  but  she  yields  it  in 
smaller  quantity  than  the  common  cows  of  Europe,  and  be- 
comes sooner  dry  when  separated  from  her  young,  for  whom 
she  manifests  the  strongest  affection. 

The  Buffalo  is  extensively  domesticated  in  India,  Siam, 
China,  and  all  the  warmer  countries  of  the  East.  He  extends 
westward  through  Persia  and  Arabia  to  the  shores  of  the 
Red  Sea  and  the  Hellespont.  He  spreads  from  Egypt  along 
the  southern  coasts  of  the  Mediterranean.  He  is  found  in 
Greece  and  the  islands  of  the  Archipelago,  in  Spain,  Italy, 
Hungary,  and  in  part  of  the  Russian  dominions  in  Europe. 

HISTORY.  221 

In  the  warmer  regions  of  the  East,  the  Buffalo  has  been 
domesticated  beyond  all  memorial  of  tradition  and  history. 
But  his  introduction  into  Europe  did  not  take  place  until 
an  era  comparatively  recent.  He  was  first  known  to  the 
Greeks,  and  then  only  by  description,  on  the  conquest  of 
Persia  by  Alexander  the  Great.  Aristotle  correctly  describes 
him  as  being  of  a  black  colour,  and  as  having  a  strong  body, 
and  thick  horns  lying  backward  :  but  the  Bou/SaXos  of  Aristotle, 
as  well  as  the  Bubalus  of  the  early  Roman  writers,  was  of 
the  Antelope  family,  and  distinct  from  the  modern  Buffalo. 
From  the  period  when  the  Buffalo  of  the  East  was  first  re- 
ferred to  by  the  great  naturalist  of  Greece,  nearly  a  thousand 
years  elapsed  before  he  was  introduced  as  the  beast  of  labour 
into  Europe.  It  has  been  supposed  that  the  Huns  and  other 
barbarians  of  the  East  brought  him  with  them  when  they 
migrated  for  settlement  and  conquest  towards  the  Roman 
States  ;  in  which  case  he  may  be  supposed  to  have  been  first 
introduced  into  Thrace  and  other  countries  of  the  Danube. 
Warnefried  states  that  Buffaloes  appeared  in  Italy  in  the 
year  596 ;  and  some  of  the  earlier  Monkish  chroniclers  refer 
to  them  with  a  sort  of  horror,  as  a  strange  kind  of  Oxen 
brought  from  Pagan  lands.  The  Buffalo  has  been  long  in 
use  in  Egypt,  though  it  does  not  appear  that  it  was  cultivated 
by  the  early  Egyptians.  Some  suppose  that  he  was  not  in- 
troduced into  Egypt  until  after  the  conquests  of  the  Saracens. 
The  Arabian  Mahommedans  refuse  to  eat  of  the  flesh  of  the 
Buffalo,  on  account,  it  may  be  believed,  of  his  resemblance 
to  the  Hog.  They  have  a  strange  tradition  that  the  Hog 
and  the  Buffalo  were  the  only  animals  which  the  Prophet 
was  unable  to  convert  to  the  true  faith  ! 

Of  the  European  countries,  Italy  is  that  in  which  the  Buf- 
falo is  the  most  largely  used  as  the  beast  of  labour  and  the 
assistant  of  the  husbandman.  He  there  forms  the  riches  of 
the  poor  inhabitants,  who  feed  upon  his  milk  and  flesh,  and 
use  him  in  all  the  labours  of  carriage  and  the  field.  He  finds 

222  THE  OX. 

a  fitting  habitation  in  the  pestilential  swamps  with  which  this 
beautiful  country  is  defaced.  Vast  herds  of  them  are  seen 
grazing  in  the  wild  and  swampy  plains  of  Calabria,  in  the 
Pontine  Marshes  near  Rome,  and  in  other  places  along  the 
shores  which  the  deadly  malaria  renders  nearly  unfit  for  hu- 
man abode.  In  such  cases  the  Buffaloes  live  almost  in  the 
state  of  nature,  under  the  guidance  of  armed  herdsmen,  who 
acquire  by  habit  a  wonderful  command  over  them.  Often 
they  are  brought  to  Rome  to  be  baited  in  the  public  shows 
by  trained  combatants,  who  exhibit  surprising  feats  of  courage 
and  address. 

The  Buffalo  owes  his  general  diffusion  in  the  domesticated 
state  to  his  hardiness,  to  his  power  of  subsisting  on  coarse  food, 
and  to  his  great  strength  and  fitness  for  labour.  It  becomes 
a  question,  whether  it  would  be  expedient  to  carry  him  be- 
yond the  countries  in  which  he  is  now  naturalized,  to  others 
more  distant,  as  France,  Holland,  and  England.  The  ques- 
tion, it  is  believed,  must  be  answered  in  the  negative.  The 
Buffalo  is  really  the  creature  of  the  warmer  countries,  and 
his  superiority  over  the  Domestic  Ox  continually  diminishes 
as  we  arrive  at  countries  where  the  common  grasses  become 
abundant.  He  is  in  all  cases,  indeed,  to  be  preferred  for 
physical  strength  and  endurance  of  labour  to  the  Ox,  but  his 
pace  is  slow,  and  his  action  sluggish.  In  this  country  he 
cannot  in  any  degree  be  compared  to  the  Horse  for  the  active 
labours  of  the  road  and  farm,  while  the  flesh  would  be  in  no 
demand,  and  the  milk  yielded  by  the  cow  would  be  too  incon- 
siderable to  be  of  value  for  the  dairy. 

The  Bubaline  family  likewise  appears  in  Africa,  and  with 
such  modifications  of  form  as  the  peculiar  physical  condition 
of  this  vast  continent  produces  in  so  many  animal  species. 
Although  it  may  be  the  Asiatic  Buffalo  which  has  been  do- 
mesticated in  Egypt,  and  perhaps  along  the  southern  shores 
of  the  Mediterranean,  yet  it  follows  in  no  degree,  that  species 
or  varieties  proper  to  that  continent  have  not  been  subdued. 

HISTORY.  223 

Bruce  informs  us  that  Buffaloes  exist  in  great  numbers  in 
the  woods  of  Abyssinia.  Denham  and  Clapperton  found  them 
in  the  kingdom  of  Bornon,  on  the  lake  of  Tchad,  in  the  heart 
of  Africa,  and  thence  innumerable  traces  of  them  appear 
through  all  the  intermediate  countries  to  the  Atlantic.  Cap- 
tain Lyon  mentions  three  kinds  of  Buffaloes  which  are  found 
in  great  numbers  in  the  kingdom  of  Fezzan;  the  first,  an 
animal  about  the  size  of  an  Ass,  with  large  head  and  horns, 
a  reddish  hide,  and  large  bunches  of  hair  hanging  from  each 
shoulder  to  the  length  of  eighteen  inches  or  two  feet,  and  of 
a  fierce  disposition  ;  the  second  about  the  size  of  a  Cow,  red 
in  colour,  slow  in  its  motions,  and  having  large  horns ;  and 
the  third  a  white  Buffalo,  lighter  in  shape,  and  more  active 
in  its  motions  than  the  others,  and  so  shy  and  swift  that 
it  can  rarely  be  obtained.  Unfortunately  the  gallant  traveller 
gives  us  no  details,  and  probably  merely  speaks  from  common 
reports.  The  information  afforded  by  other  travellers  re- 
garding the  Buffaloes  of  the  interior  is  alike  defective.  We 
merely  learn  that  these  animals  abound  throughout  the 
forests  of  Northern  and  Central  Africa  ;  but  of  their  distinc- 
tive characters,  no  information  satisfactory  to  the  naturalist 
has  yet  been  afforded. 

There  is  one  African  species,  however,  of  which  we  have 
authentic  accounts,  namely,  the  CAPE  BUFFALO,  the  Bos 
Coffer  of  Sparrman,  and  admitted  by  that  name  into  the  cata- 
logues of  naturalists.  This  formidable  animal  is  found  at  the 
Cape,  and  extends  to  an  unknown  distance  into  the  interior. 
He  bears  a  distinct  affinity  in  habits  and  character  with  the 
Buffalo  of  Asia,  but  is  yet  clearly  marked  by  characters  of 
his  own.  He  is  a  large  animal,  being  about  five  feet  and  a 
half  in  height  at  the  shoulders,  and  nine  feet  long,  having 
short  muscular  limbs,  and  a  ponderous  head.  His  horns  are 
long,  thick,  and  black,  spreading  over  the  whole  forehead 
until  the  bases  nearly  touch.  The  root  of  these  rugged  horns, 
overhanging  the  red  and  piercing  eyes  of  the  animal,  gives 
him  a  sullen  and  malignant  aspect.  His  ears  are  shaggy 

224  THE    OX. 

and  pendent,  and  about  a  foot  in  length,  and  are  frequently 
found  to  be  jagged  and  rent  by  the  sharp  spines  of  the  dense 
and  tangled  brushwood  through  which  he  forces  a  passage. 
The  Hottentots  believe  that  the  animals  belong  to  demons,  and 
that  the  rents  in  the  ears  are  the  marks  by  which  these  super- 
natural beings  distinguish  their  own  cattle.  The  hide  is  thick, 
black,  tough,  and  covered  with  wiry  hairs.  On  the  throat, 
and  along  the  dewlap,  is  a  beard  of  stiff  hairs,  and  on  the 
neck  and  spine  a  scanty  mane  :  the  tail  is  bare,  with  a  tuft 
at  its  extremity. 

These  animals  dwell  in  small  herds  in  woods  and  thickets, 
though  sometimes  they  unite  in  larger  bodies,  as  of  150  or 
more  together.  They  delight  in  moisture,  passing  hours  in 
pools  of  water,  and  rolling  themselves  in  mud.  They  are 
described  by  travellers  as  savage,  treacherous,  and  vindic- 
tive. The  bull,  it  is  said,  will  lurk  behind  the  covert  of 
thickets,  and  rush  on  the  unwary  traveller,  whose  only  hope 
of  safety  is  to  reach  a  tree,  should  one  happily  be  near.  He 
cannot  save  himself  by  flight,  for  the  furious  brute  quickly 
overtakes  him,  throws  him  to  the  earth,  tramples  upon  him 
with  his  feet,  and  crushes  him  to  death  with  his  knees.  Nay, 
it  is  said  that,  after  having  mangled  his  victim,  the  creature 
retires  to  a  distance,  and  then  returns  again  and  again  with 
increased  ferocity,  as  if  to  gratify,  by  repetition,  his  thirst  of 
vengeance.  The  account  of  the  animal's  lurking  behind 
thickets  is  doubtless  incorrect,  for  it  is  not  the  nature  of  her- 
bivorous animals  to  prey  on  other  creatures  from  a  desire  of 
blood.  And  with  respect  to  his  treachery  and  cruelty,  it  is 
to  be  asked — which,  in  the  eye  of  humanity  and  reason,  is 
the  most  treacherous  and  cruel,  the  traveller  and  stranger 
who  steals  upon  the  lonely  animal  in  his  native  haunt  to  shed 
his  blood,  or  the  victim  who  uses  the  powers  which  Nature 
has  given  him  to  protect  himself  from  slaughter  I 

Sparrman  describes  an  encounter  with  several  of  these 
animals  on  the  Great  Fish  River.  The  party  advanced  within 
twenty  yards  of  one  of  them,  when,  actuated  in  some  degree 

HISTORY.  225 

by  their  fears,  they  discharged  their  pieces  nearly  at  the 
same  time.  The  Buffalo,  who  had  just  turned  his  head  round 
as  if  about  to  assault  the  intruders,  fell  on  the  discharge  of 
the  pieces,  but,  rising  again,  ran  to  the  thickest  part  of  the 
wood.  Supposing  that  the  shot  was  mortal,  the  travellers, 
in  their  hurry  and  ignorance  of  the  danger,  followed  the  ani- 
mal into  the  thicket ;  but  they  found,  in  the  sequel,  that  the 
balls  had  only  struck  him  on  the  spine  and  stunned  him,  and 
been  shivered  to  pieces  on  the  bones.  The  travellers,  now 
joined  by  their  Hottentots,  endeavoured  to  find  out  his  re- 
treat in  the  vale  below ;  but  the  animal,  having  recovered 
his  surprise,  came  forth  of  his  own  accord  to  the  skirts  of  the 
wood,  and  faced  his  assailants,  who,  happily  for  them,  had 
the  advantage  of  the  higher  ground.  Three  shots  were  in- 
stantly fired,  and  one,  entering  the  belly,  proved  mortal. 
The  Buffalo  again  retreated  to  the  shelter  of  the  vale,  dyeing 
the  ground  and  bushes  all  the  way  as  he  went  with  his  blood. 
The  hunters  followed  with  the  utmost  caution  through  the 
thin  and  pervious  part  of  the  thicket.  Again  their  victim 
advanced  to  make  an  attack,  but  one  of  the  party,  from  the 
place  where  he  was  posted,  had  the  fortune  to  lodge  a  shot 
in  the  lungs ;  yet  still  the  wounded  animal  had  the  strength 
to  make  a  circuit  of  150  paces  before  he  fell.  "  During  his 
fall,  and  before  he  died,"  continues  the  narration,  "  he  bel- 
lowed in  a  most  stupendous  manner,  and  this  death-song  of 
his  inspired  every  one  of  us  with  joy,  on  account  of  the  vic- 
tory we  had  gained :  and  so  thoroughly  steeled  is  frequently 
the  human  heart  against  the  sufferings  of  the  brute  creation, 
that  we  hastened  forward  to  enjoy  the  pleasure  of  seeing  the 
Buffalo  struggle  with  the  pangs  of  death.  I  happened  to  be 
foremost  among  them,  and  I  think  it  impossible  for  anguish, 
accompanied  by  a  savage  fierceness,  to  be  painted  in  stronger 
colours  than  they  were  upon  the  face  of  this  Buffalo.  I  was 
within  ten  steps  of  him  when  he  perceived  me,  and,  bellow- 
ing, raised  himself  suddenly  again  upon  his  legs."  The  tra- 
veller was  so  terrified,  that,  hastily  firing  his  piece,  his  shot 


226  THE    OX. 

missed  the  huge  animal  before  him,  and  he  precipitately  fled. 
But  it  was  all  over  with  the  poor  Buffalo ;  he  had  made  his 
last  effort ;  he  had  left  to  his  conquerors  the  happiness  of 
having  shed  his  blood,  by  means  of  deadly  weapons,  which 
all  the  vast  strength  and  noble  courage  with  which  Nature 
had  endowed  him  could  not  enable  him  to  withstand  ;  he  had 
left  them  the  privilege  of  prating  of  their  courage,  philosophy, 
and  love  of  nature,  and  of  his  malignity,  cruelty,  and  vindic- 

The  same  and  other  travellers  give  numerous  accounts  of 
their  encounters  with  these  strong  and  fearless  creatures. 
M.  Thunberg  informs  us,  that,  when  travelling  in  Caffraria, 
he  and  his  companions  had  just  entered  a  wood,  when  they 
discovered  a  large  old  Buffalo,  lying  quite  alone  in  a  little 
space  free  from  bushes.  The  animal  no  sooner  observed  the 
guide,  who  went  first,  than  he  rushed  upon  him  with  a  dread- 
ful roar.  The  man  was  able  to  turn  his  horse  quickly  round 
a  large  tree,  when  the  furious  beast  rushed  upon  the  next  of 
the  party,  and  gored  his  horse  so  dreadfully  in  the  belly,  that 
it  died  soon  after.  The  two  men  fled  to  trees,  and  when  the 
furious  creature  rushed  on  towards  the  next  of  the  party,  a 
horse  without  a  rider  chanced  to  be  in  front :  the  Buffalo  at- 
tacked him  with  such  fury,  that  he  drove  his  horns  through 
the  horse's  breast,  and  out  again  through  the  very,  saddle. 
The  horse  was  thrown  to  the  ground  with  dreadful  violence, 
and  instantly  died.  Thunberg,  coming  up  at  the  moment, 
found  himself  in  the  way  of  the  enraged  animal,  but,  from 
the  narrowness  of  the  path,  he  had  no  room  to  turn.  He 
abandoned  his  horse,  and  took  refuge  in  a  tree.  But  the  Buf- 
falo had  now  done :  on  killing  the  second  horse,  he  turned 
suddenly  about,  and  retreated  to  the  covert. 

Some  Europeans  at  the  Cape,  in  chase  of  one  of  these 
animals,  pursued  him  into  a  narrow  path.  He  turned  round, 
and  rushed  upon  a  man  of  the  party,  who  plunged  into  the 
stream,  and  swam  off.  In  an  instant  the  Buffalo  followed, 
and  was  close  upon  him,  when  the  man,  to  save  himself, 

HISTORY.  227 

dived.  He  dipped  down  overhead,  and  the  Buffalo  for  €he  mo- 
ment lost  sight  of  him,  and  swam  toward  the  opposite  shore, 
three  miles  distant,  and  would  have  reached  it,  but  for  a  shot 
from  the  gun  of  a  ship,  which  chanced  to  be  lying  at  a  little 

The  following  incident  is  recorded  in  a  periodical  work,  on 
the  authority  of  a  Dutch- African  farmer,  who  had  been  a 
witness  of  the  scene  fifteen  years  before.     "  A  party  of  boors 
had  gone  out  to  hunt  a  troop  of  Buffaloes,  which  were  graz- 
ing in  a  piece  of  marshy  ground,  interspersed  with  groves  of 
yellow  wood  and  mimosa  trees,  on  the  very  spot  where  the 
village  of  Somerset  is  now  built.     As  they  could  not  con- 
veniently get  within  shot  of  the  game  without  crossing  part 
of  the  valei  or  marsh,  which  did  not  afford  a  safe  passage  for 
horses,  they  agreed  to  leave  their  steeds  in  charge  of  their 
Hottentot  servants,  and  to  advance  on  foot,  thinking  that,  if 
any  of  the  Buffaloes  should  turn  upon  them,  it  would  be  easy 
to  escape  by  retreating  across  the  quagmire,  which,  though 
passable  for  man,  would  not  support  the  weight  of  a  heavy 
quadruped.     They  advanced  accordingly,  and,  under  cover  of 
the  bushes,  approached  the  game  with  such  advantage,  that 
the  first  volley  brought  down  three  of  the  fattest  of  thelierd, 
and  so  severely  wounded  the  great  bull  leader,  that  he  dropped 
on  his  knees,  bellowing  with  pain.     Thinking  him  mortally 
wounded,  the  foremost  of  the  huntsmen  issued  from  the  covert, 
and  began  reloading  his  musket  as  he  advanced,  to  give  him 
a  finishing  shot.     But  no  sooner  did  the  infuriated  animal 
see  his  foe  in  front  of  him,  than  he  sprang  up,  and  rushed 
headlong  upon  him.     The  man,  throwing  down  his  empty 
gun,  fled  towards  the  quagmire  ;  but  the  savage  beast  was 
so  close  upon  him  that  he  despaired  of  escaping  in  that  direc- 
tion, and  turning  suddenly  round  a  clump  of  copse  wood,  be- 
gan to  climb  an  old  mimosa  tree  which  stood  at  one  side 
of  it.     The  raging  beast,  however,  was  too  quick  for  him. 
Bounding  forward  with  a  roar,  which  my  informant  (who  was 
one  of  the  party)  described  as  being  one  of  the  most  frightful 



sounds  he  ever  heard,  he  caught  the  unfortunate  man  with 
his  horns,  just  as  he  had  nearly  escaped  his  reach,  and  tossed 
him  in  the  air  with  such  force,  that  the  body  fell,  dreadfully 
mangled,  into  a  lofty  cleft  of  the  tree.  The  Buffalo  ran 
round  the  tree  once  or  twice,  apparently  looking  for  the  man, 
until,  weakened  with  loss  of  blood,  he  again  sunk  on  his  knees. 
The  rest  of  the  party  then,  recovering  from  their  confusion, 
came  up  and  despatched  him,  though  too  late  to  save  their 
comrade,  whose  body  was  hanging  in  the  tree  quite  dead."  * 

These  animals,  fierce  and  cruel  as  they  seem,  do  not  cer- 
tainly seek  occasions  for  attacking  even  their  deadliest  enemy, 
Man.  Although  in  herds  of  great  numbers  together,  and 
when  they  could  beat  their  pursuers  to  the  dust,  like  reeds, 
they  invariably  seek  to  save  themselves  by  retreating  to  the 
nearest  thickets.  The  females  exhibit  the  warm  attachment 
to  their  offspring  which  is  characteristic  of  the  whole  Buba- 
line  race,  and  which  a  beneficent  Providence  has  imprinted 
in  the  bosoms  of  the  rudest  creatures.  It  is  for  the  safety  of 
the  young  and  females,  that  the  bulls  seem  to  act  as  the 
guardians  of  the  herd.  At  the  season,  too,  of  sexual  desire, 
numbers  of  the  bulls  being  expelled  by  their  fellows  from  the 
community,  wander  about  for  a  season  with  excited  passions, 
and  then  manifest  that  ferocity  which  has  been  witnessed. 

The  chase  of  these  animals  in  the  forests  of  tangled  brush- 
wood which  they  frequent,  is  attended  with  much  danger. 
Their  strong  hides  resist  the  rifle  ball  like  a  target,  and 
common  balls  of  lead  are  flattened  when  they  strike  their 
bones.  For  this  reason,  the  balls  employed  are  of  great 
weight,  and  alloyed  with  tin,  and  even  then  they  are  some- 
times shattered,  as  if  they  had  struck  a  wall  of  steel.  The 
Hottentots  are  extremely  dexterous  in  this  dangerous  chase, 
crawling  on  their  bellies  until  they  reach  their  victims, 
and  using,  instead  of  their  ancient  weapons,  the  rifles  and 
long  muskets  with  which  their  rude  masters  have  supplied 

*  Penny  Magazine,  1832. 

HISTORY.  229 

them.  But  the  Caffres  are  in  a  peculiar  degree  attached  to 
this  dangerous  exercise  :  they  pursue  the  chase  in  companies  ; 
and  when  an  individual  discovers  the  herd,  he  winds  a  small 
pipe  made  of  the  thigh-bone  of  a  Sheep,  and  his  companions 
hastening  to  his  aid.  they  environ  the  game,  and  pierce  them 
with  spears.  The  Bushmen,  for  the  same  purpose,  use  jave- 
lins and  arrows  dipped  in  poison. 

The  flesh  of  these  animals  is  said  to  be  juicy  and  well- 
flavoured.  But  it  is  chiefly  for  their  hides  that  they  are 
valued  by  the  African  hunters  and  the  farmers  of  the  Cape. 
These  are  so  thick  and  tough,  that  they  may  be  formed  into 
targets,  musket-proof;  they  are  used,  too,  for  whips,  and 
for  the  straps  of  harness,  and  are  said  to  form  the  only  halters 
that  can  be  depended  upon  for  securing  horses  and  oxen, 
when  picketted  in  travelling,  and  alarmed  by  the  stealthy 
approach  of  the  Wolf,  or  the  rustle  of  the  Lion.* 

The  use  of  fire-arms  is  rapidly  thinning  the  number  of  these 
powerful  creatures  within  the  European  territory  of  the  Cape  : 
they  slowly  retire  to  the  woods  of  the  interior,  where  they 
can  be  safe  from  the  dangerous  weapons  of  their  destroyers. 
Nor  is  man  their  only  enemy  :  the  Wolf,  the  Hyaena,  and 
other  fierce  creatures,  are  the  inhabitants  of  the  same  woods  ; 
and  the  Lion,  it  is  said,  steals  upon  and  attacks  them.  The 
natives  speak  of  having  been  witnesses  of  these  murderous 
conflicts ;  and  say,  that  wounds  inflicted  by  Lions  are  often 
observed  in  the  muzzles  and  bodies  of  such  Buffaloes  as  are 
killed  in  the  clmse  ;  and  that  the  carcasses  of  Lions  are  some- 
times found  gored  by  the  terrible  horns  of  the  Buffalo.  A 
question  that  arises  is,  can  these  wild  and  dangerous  animals 
be  subjected  to  servitude  and  domestication  ?  Sparrman  in- 
forms us,  that  he  saw  a  Buffalo  calf,  taken  soon  after  birth, 
grazing  amongst  the  other  calves  of  the  farm,  and  as  docile 
as  any  of  the  herd.  He  accordingly  expresses  his  belief,  that 
the  Buffalo  calves,  if  taken  young  and  properly  trained,  might 
be  broken  to  the  yoke.  But  the  animals  should  not  only  be 

*  Sparr man's  Voyage. 

230  THE  OX. 

taken  young,  but  should  be  born  and  made  to  breed  in  the 
state  of  servitude,  in  order  that  it  might  be  fully  known  what 
ultimate  changes  domestication  would  produce  in  their  habits, 
and  to  what  degree  they  could  be  rendered  the  assistants  of 
man,  instead  of  being,  as  now,  the  victims  of  his  persecution. 

The  next  to  be  mentioned  of  the  Bovine  family  is  a  native 
of  India.  The  GAYAL  or  JUNGLE  Ox,  the  Bos  frontalis  of 
Lambert,  inhabits  the  mountain  forests  east  of  the  Brahma- 
pootra, but  doubtless  extends  far  into  the  dense  regions  of 
forest  beyond  that  noble  river.  The  precise  place  which 
this  species  occupies  amongst  the  Bovidse  has  not  been  sa- 
tisfactorily determined.  He  seems  allied  to  the  Bisontine 
and  Taurine  groups,  and  is  probably  to  be  regarded  as  the 
connecting  link  between  them. 

The  Jungle  Ox  has  the  head  broad  and  flat  above,  and  con- 
tracting suddenly  to  the  muzzle.  The  horns  are  distant, 
thick  at  the  base,  and  slightly  compressed,  the  flat  sides  be- 
ing towards  the  front  and  rear ;  the  ears  are  long,  the  eyes 
are  like  those  of  the  Common  Ox,  the  muzzle  is  destitute  of 
hairs.  A  sharp  ridge  runs  from  the  back  part  of  the  neck 
and  top  of  the  shoulder,  along  about  a  third  part  of  the  back, 
and  then  suddenly  terminates.  The  sacrum  has  a  consider- 
able declination  to  the  tail,  making  the  rump  round  like  that 
of  a  hog.  The  tail  descends  to  about  the  hock,  is  covered 
with  short  hairs,  and  terminates  in  a  tuft.  The  prevailing 
colour  is  brown  of  various  shades,  and  the  legs,  belly,  and 
tip  of  the  tail,  are  white.  This  animal  has  a  somewhat  clumsy 
aspect,  but  is  yet  possessed  of  great  activity  and  strength. 
He  is  of  the  size  of  an  ordinary  Ox  of  this  country.  He  does 
not  grunt  in  the  manner  of  the  Yak  of  Tartary,  but  lows  like 
the  Ox  of  Europe,  although  with  a  shriller  and  softer  tone. 

In  their  wild  state,  the  Gayals  seem  to  be  entirely  the 
inhabitants  of  a  country  of  dense  forest,  never,  of  their  own 
accord,  approaching  to  the  plains  ;  and  this  habit  they  do  not 
lose  in  the  state  of  slavery.  They  delight  to  roam  in  the 
thickest  woods  ;  they  neglect  the  grasses,  and  rather  love  to 

HISTORY.  231 

browse  on  shrubs  and  tender  shoots  of  trees :  they  repair  to 
the  jungle  in  search  of  their  natural  food,  and  ruminate  under 
the  shade  of  trees.  They  have  not  the  habit  of  the  Yak  and 
the  Buffalo  of  wallowing  in  water,  but  rather,  in  their  habits, 
approach  to  the  domestic  race.  The  female  goes  with  young 
eleven  months :  she  yields  very  rich  milk,  but  neither  abun- 
dant nor  lasting  :  she  receives  the  male  of  the  common  race, 
and  the  progeny,  it  is  said,  is  fruitful. 

The  Gayals  are  hunted  by  certain  tribes  for  their  flesh, 
but  they  are  also  reclaimed  to  some  extent  in  the  East. 
They  are  perfectly  docile  in  their  domestic  state,  and  are  so 
fleet  and  active,  that  they  may  be  used  for  the  saddle.  Cer- 
tain sects  in  India,  it  is  said,  sacrifice  this  animal  to  their 
gods  ;  but  the  Hindoos  will  not  shed  the  blood  of  the  Gayal ; 
their  sacred  books  informing  them  that  the  female  of  the 
Gayal  is  like  the  Cow,  and  to  be  held  in  the  same  veneration. 

The  Taurine  group  of  Bovidae  comprehends  the  DOMESTIC 
Ox,  Bos  Taurus,  under  its  several  modifications  of  varieties 
or  species.  Whether  the  various  members  of  this  group  are 
to  be  regarded  as  species,  or  merely  as  modifications  of  a 
common  stock,  that  is,  varieties  or  races,  depends  upon  the 
meaning  which  is  to  be  assigned  to  these  terms.  The 
Taurine  group  throughout  the  world  possesses  characters  of 
resemblance,  which  may  allow  the  naturalists  to  regard 
them  as  a  single  species,  just  as  we  may  so  regard  the 
various  races  of  Dogs  :  but,  at  the  same  time,  there  are  dif- 
ferences between  the  members  quite  as  great  as  in  other 
cases  are  employed  to  discriminate  species.  The  Zebu  of  the 
East  differs  as  much,  in  external  characters,  from  the  Ox  of 
Europe,  as  the  Ass  from  the  Zebra ;  and  there  are  subor- 
dinate races  so  divergent,  that  it  is"  difficult  to  resist  the 
conclusion,  that  the  Domesticated  Oxen  of  different  parts  of 
the  world  have  been  derived  from  animals  so  distinct  in  the 
natural  state,  that  they  may  either  be  regarded  as  species, 
or  very  permanent  varieties. 

Of  the  wild  species  of  Ox,  we  have  authentic  records  of 



one,  at  least,  which  existed  in  the  ancient  forests  of  Europe, 
and  which,  we  shall  see,  is  not  yet  extinct.  This  animal  was 
termed  Urochs  by  the  older  Germans,  a  word  which  is  de- 
rived from  Ur,  a  root  common  to  many  languages,  and  signi- 
fying original  or  old,  and  ochs,  an  ox.  The  Greek  and  Ro- 
man writers  employed  the  term  Urus,  either  borrowed  from 
the  Teutonic,  or  derived  from  the  same  root,  Ur,  which 
entered  into  the  composition  of  their  own  Taugof  and  Taurus. 
From  the  same  source  are  derived  the  Shur  and  Tur  of  the 
Hebrew  and  other  languages  of  the  East ;  and  hence,  too, 
the  Thur  of  the  Poles,  the  Tyr,  Tyer,  Stier,  Steer,  in  the 
dialects  of  northern  Europe.  We  find,  too,  terms  derived 
from  the  designation  of  the  bull  applied  to  the  names  of 
countries,  mountains,  and  forests ;  as  the  Turan  of  Persia, 
the  Turan  of  the  Caucasus,  the  Turin  of  Italy,  the  Tours  of 
France,  the  Thuringian  forest,  and  many  more. 

The  Uri  are  described  by  Julius  Caesar  as  existing  in  the 
Hercynian  forest,  as  being  little  short  of  elephants  in  size, 
and  as  being  of  the  kind,  colour,  and  figure  of  the  bull.* 
Pliny  refers  to  them  as  inhabitants  of  Scythia  and  Germany, 
along  with  the  Bison,  adverting,  at  the  same  time,  to  the 
vulgar  error  of  confounding  the  Urus  with  the  Bubalus, 
which,  says  he,  was  an  animal  like  a  Stag  brought  from 
Africa.  Solinus  repeats  the  opinion  of  Pliny.  "  In  the 
tract  of  the  Hercynian  forest,  and  in  all  the  northern  regions, 
are  likewise  Uri,  which  the  ignorant  vulgar  term  Bubali." 
But  the  great  confusion  which  subsequently  took  place,  was 
in  confounding  the  Urus  with  the  Bison,  although  the  dis- 
tinction had  been  drawn  by  Pliny,  Seneca,  Pomponius,  and 
other  writers.  More  modern  authors  still  more  distinctly 
point  out  the  difference  between  those  animals.  Thus,  Lau- 
rentius,  in  his  commentaries  on  the  affairs  of  his  own  time, 
writes :  "  In  Lithuania  there  are  Bisons,  Uri,  and  likewise 
Elks :  those  are  in  error  who  call  the  Bisons,  Uri ;  for  the 

*  In  Sylva  Hercyniae  nascuntur  qui  appellantur  Uri.    Hi  sunt  magnitudine 
paulo  infra  Klephantos,  specie  et  colore  et  figura  Tauri.— De  Belh  Gallico. 

HISTORY.  233 

Bisons  differ  from  the  Uri,  which  have  the  form  of  an  Ox, 
in  having  manes,  and  long  hairs  about  the  neck,  in  having  a 
beard  hanging  from  the  chin,  and  in  smelling  of  musk."  In 
an  ancient  poem  on  a  hunting  match  near  Worms,  we  have 
a  distinct  account  of  the  number  of  Bisons,  Uri,  and  Elks, 
which  were  respectively  slain ;  and  various  chroniclers  refer 
to  the  hunting  of  the  ancient  Uri  in  the  forests  of  Europe. 
Heberstein,  De  Rebus  Muscov.,  and  Martin  Cromer,  De  Situ 
Polonise,  writers  of  the  sixteenth  century,  describe  the  dis- 
tinction between  the  Bison  or  Zubr  of  the  Poles,  and  the 
Thur  of  the  same  nation ;  and  Anthony  Schneibergen  de- 
scribes the  Thur  as  differing  from  the  domestic  race  only  in 
size  and  colour.  Yet,  in  the  middle  ages,  Albertus  Magnus, 
and  other  writers,  fell  into  the  error  of  confounding  those 
animals ;  and  several  German  writers  applied  the  term 
Urochs  or  Auerochs,  the  undoubted  designation  of  their  own 
Urus,  to  the  Bison ;  and  modern  naturalists,  in  opposition  to 
the  testimony  of  the  older  writers,  are  yet  found  to  maintain 
the  same  error.* 

*  Fossil  skulls  have  been  found  in  various  parts  of  Europe  resembling  those 
of  the  domestic  races,  and  differing  from  them  only  in  size.  But  these  bones 
indicate  an  animal  greatly  surpassing  in  magnitude  any  of  the  modern  races 
of  cattle.  They  are  usually  about  one-third  or  more  larger  in  linear  size, 
indicating  an  animal  nearly  three  times  the  bulk  of  the  oxen  of  the  present 
time.  Their  remains  are  found  in  the  same  alluvial  deposites  as  those  of 
the  Elephant,  and  other  large  animals  which  formerly  inhabited  Europe,  prov- 
ing that  they  lived  at  the  same  era  :  they  are  found  likewise  in  the  pame  situa- 
tions as  the  great  extinct  Irish  Elk,  and  thus  seem  to  have  survived  various 
species  with  which  they  were  associated,  and  even,  perhaps,  to  have  survived 
till  within  the  historic  era.  A  question,  however,  which  has  been  agitated  by 
naturalists  is,  Whether  these  huge  animals  are  the  origin  of  the  domestic  races, 
and  may  not  even  have  been  the  Uri  described  by  Caesar  ?  The  question  is  one 
which  bears  less  than  is  assumed  upon  the  origin  of  the  existing  races.  We 
can,  bv  all  the  evidence  which  the  question  admits  of,  trace  existing  races  to 
the  ancient  Uri  which,  long  posterior  to  the  historical  era,  inhabited  the  forests 
of  Germany,  Gaul,  Britain,  and  other  countries.  It  is  a  question  involving  an 
entirely  different  series  of  considerations,  whether  these  Uri  were  themselves 
descended  from  an  anterior  race,  surpassing  them  in  magnitude,  and  inhabit- 
ing the  globe  at  the  same  time  with  other  extinct  species.  While  there  is 
nothing  that  can  directly  support  this  hypothesis,  there  is  nothing  certainly 
founded  on  analogy  that  can  enable  us  to  invalidate  it.  There  is  nothing  more 

234  THE  OX. 

The  Uri  of  the  forests  of  Europe  seem  to  have  rapidly 
decreased  in  numbers,  with  the  progress  of  settlement  and 
cultivation  in  different  countries.  Anthony  Fitzstephen,  who 
wrote  in  the  latter  part  of  the  reign  of  Henry  II.,  describes 
them  as  then  abounding  in  the  great  forests  round  London. 
John  Leslie,  Bishop  of  Ross,  who  wrote  in  1598,  states  that 
the  Wild  Ox,  which  he  terms  Bos  Sylvestris,  was  found  in 
the  woods  of  Scotland ;  that  it  was  of  a  white  colour,  had  a 
thick  mane  resembling  a  lion's  ;  that  it  was  wild  and  savage, 
and,  when  irritated,  rushed  upon  the  hunters,  overthrew  the 
horses,  and  despised  the  attacks  of  the  fiercest  dogs.  He 
says  that  it  had  formerly  abounded  in  the  Sylva  Caledonia, 
but  was  then  only  to  be  found  at  Stirling,  Cumbernauld,  and 

Hector  Boece,  in  his  History  and  Chronicles  of  Scotland, 
bears  testimony  to  the  like  effect : — "  At  this  toun"  (namely 
Stirling),  "  began  the  grit  wod  of  Calidon.  This  wod  of 
Calidon  ran  fra  Striveling  throw  Menteith  and  Stratherne, 
to  Atholl  and  Lochquabir,  as  Ptolome  writtis  in  his  first 
table.  In  this  wod  wes  sum  time  quhit  bullis,  with  crisp  and 
curland  mane,  like  feirs  lionis,  and  thoucht  thay  semit  meek 
and  tame  in  the  remanent  figure  of  thair  bodyis,  thay  wer 
mair  wild  than  ony  uthir  beistis,  and  had  sic  hatrent  aganis 
the  societe  and  cumpany  of  men,  that  thay  come  nevir  in  the 
wodis,  nor  lesuris  quhair  thay  fand  ony  feit  or  haind  thairof, 

incredible  in  the  supposition,  that  animals  should  diminish  in  size,  with  changes 
in  the  condition  of  the  earth,  than  that  they  should  be  extinguished  altogether, 
and  supplanted  by  new  species.  The  fossil  Urus  inhabited  Europe  when  a  very 
different  condition  existed  with  regard  to  temperature,  the  supplies  of  vege- 
table food,  and  the  consequent  development  of  animal  forms.  Why  should  not 
the  Urus,  under  these  conditions,  have  been  a  far  larger  animal  than  he  subse- 
quently became?  We  know  by  experience  the  effects  of  food  in  increasing  or 
diminishing  the  size  of  this  very  race  of  animals.  The  great  Ox  of  the  Lin- 
colnshire fens  exceeds  in  size  the  little  Ox  of  Barbary  or  the  Highland  Hills, 
as  much  as  the  fossil  Urus  exceeded  the  larger  Oxen  of  Germany  and  England  ; 
and  we  cannot  consider  it  as  incredible,  that  an  animal  which  inhabited  Europe 
when  Elephants  found  food  and  a  climate  suited  to  their  natures,  should  have 
greatly  surpassed  in  magnitude  the  same  species  under  the  present  conditions 
of  the  same  countries. 

HISTORY.  235 

any  mony  dayis  eftir,  thay  eit  nocht  of  the  herbis  that  wer 
twichit  or  handillit  be  men.  Thir  bullis  wer  sa  wild,  that 
thay  wer  nevir  tane  but  slight  and  crafty  laubour,  and  sa 
impacient  that,  eftir  thair  taking,  they  deit  for  importable 
doloure.  Alse  sone  as  ony  man  invadit  thir  bullis,  they 
ruschit  with  so  terrible  preis  on  him,  that  they  dang  him  to 
the  eird,  takand  na  feir  of  houndis,  scharp  lancis,  nor  uthir 
maist  penitrive  wapinnis.''  "  And  thoucht  thir  bullis  wer 
bred  in  sindry  boundis  of  the  Calidon  Wod,  now,  be  conti- 
wal  hunting  and  lust  of  insolent  men,  thay  are  distroyit  in 
all  partis  of  Scotland,  and  nane  of  thaim  left  bot  allanerlie 
in  Cumarnald."  * 

In  this  their  last  retreat,  they  were  subjected  to  persecu- 
tion : — In  a  remarkable  document  written  in  1570-71,  the 
writer,  describing  the  aggressions  of  the  King's  party,  com- 
plains of  the  destruction  of  the  Deer  in  the  forest  of  Cum- 
bernauld,  "  and  the  quhit  ky  and  bullis  of  the  said  forrest,  to 
the  gryt  destructione  of  polecie,  and  hinder  of  the  common- 
weill.  For  that  kynd  of  ky  and  bullis  he  bein  kepit  thir 
money  zeiris  in  the  said  forrest,  and  the  like  was  not  man- 
tenit  in  ony  vther  partis  of  the  He  of  Albion."  t 

Thus  were  the  Uri  of  the  Scottish  forests  driven  from  the 
woods 'which  they  inhabited,  destroyed,  or  made  captive. 
Part,  indeed,  had  been  preserved  in  some  of  the  parks  at- 
tached to  the  religious  houses,  their  flesh  being  more  esteemed 
than  that  of  "  their  awin  tame  bestial."  But,  with  the  de- 
struction of  the  Ancient  Establishments,  the  oxen  were 
dispersed,  destroyed,  or  mingled  with  the  common  races. 
In  a  few  places  only  they  seem  to  have  been  preserved 
without  intermixture, — chiefly  in  the  Parks  of  the  Dukes 
of  Queensberry  at  Drumlanrig,  and  of  the  Dukes  of  Ha- 
milton, called  the  Chace  of  Cadzow.  Those  at  Drumlanrig 
were,  many  years  ago,  destroyed  by  an  order  of  the  late 

*  History  and  Chronicles  of  Scotland,  by  Hector  Boece,  translated  by  John 

f  Illustrations  of  Scottish  History,  preserved  from  Manuscripts,  by  Sir  John 
Graham  Dalyell,  Bart. 

236  THE  OX. 

Duke  of  Queensberry  :  those  at  the  noble  park  of  Hamilton 
are  yet  in  existence,  preserved  with  care.  They  have  lost 
the  thick  mane  ascribed  to  them  by  the  early  writers,  and 
the  females  have  generally  become  destitute  of  horns ;  but 
all  their  other  characters  shew  them  indubitably  to  be  the 
descendants  of  the  ancient  race.  They  are  of  the  size  of  the 
cattle  of  the  West  Highlands:  they  are  of  a  dun  white 
colour ;  and  the  muzzle,  the  inside  of  the  ears,  the  tongue,  and 
the  hoofs,  are  black.  They  are  very  wild,  and  cautious  of  being 
approached ;  and  when  suddenly  come  upon,  they  scamper 
off,  turn  round  as  if  to  examine  the  intruder,  and  generally 
gallop  in  circles,  as  if  meditating  an  attack.  They  are  not, 
however,  vicious,  though  some  of  the  bulls  have  manifested 
the  savage  and  dogged  temper  of  their  race.  Some  persons 
have  been  pursued  to  trees.  One  poor  bird-catcher,  we  are 
informed  by  Mr  Patrick,  when  exercising  his  trade  in  the 
forest,  was  attacked  by  a  savage  bull :  he  had  time  to  save 
himself  by  climbing  up  a  tree ;  and  he  had  there  an  opportu- 
nity of  observing  the  habits  of  his  assailant.  The  furious 
creature  seemed  to  quiver  with  rage,  and  frequently  attacked 
the  tree  with  his  head  and  hoofs.  Finding  his  efforts  vain,  he 
left  off  the  attempt,  and  began  to  browse  at  some  distance. 
The  prisoner  then  tried  to  descend,  that  he  mightjmake  his 
escape  ;  but  the  watchful  brute  was  at  his  post  in  an  instant, 
and  the  poor  man  was  not  relieved  until  after  many  hours, 
on  assistance  arriving.  Another  individual  was  attacked  on 
a  summer  evening :  he  was  fortunate  in  reaching  a  tree,  but 
was  watched  by  the  implacable  brute  throughout  the  whole 
night,  and  until  late  on  the  following  day.  These  examples 
are  remarkable,  shewing,  in  the  Wild  Ox,  that  savage,  per- 
tinacious, and  implacable  temper,  which  we  know  some  others 
of  the  Bovine  family  display  in  their  state  of  nature.  The 
females  conceal  their  calves  amongst  thickets  or  long  grass, 
returning  to  them  cautiously  twice  or  thrice  in  the  day,  to 
suckle  them.  The  little  creatures  exhibit  the  instincts  of 
their  race:  when  suddenly  approached,  they  manifest  extreme 
trepidation,  throwing  their  ears  close  back  upon  their  necks, 

HISTORY.  237 

and  squatting  upon  the  ground.  The  only  method  of  killing 
the  older  animals  is  by  shooting  them.  When  the  keepers  ap- 
proach for  that  purpose,  the  poor  creatures  seem  to  be  aware 
of  their  danger :  they  gallop  away  with  speed  in  a  dense  mass, 
preserving,  we  are  informed,  a  profound  silence,  and  keeping 
close  by  the  coverts  and  fences :  the  cows,  in  the  mean  time, 
that  have  calves  forsake  the  herd,  and  repair  to  the  places 
where  their  young  are  concealed,  in  order  to  defend  them. 

The  remains  of  the  same  remarkable  race  are  to  be  found 
in  several  parks  in  England,  differing  only  from  those  de- 
scribed in  so  far  as  differences  of  situation  may  be  supposed 
to  have  affected  their  characters.  Of  these,  the  most  re- 
markable are  those  kept  in  the  ancient  park  of  Chillingham, 
the  property  of  the  Earl  of  Tankerville.  These  appear  to 
have  remained  the  nearest  in  their  characters  to  the  original 
race.  The  herd  at  present  amounts  to  about  eighty  in  num- 
ber, consisting  of  about  twenty-five  bulls,  forty  cows,  and 
fifteen  steers.  The  eye-lashes  and  tips  of  the  horns  are 
black,  the  muzzle  is  brown,  the  inside  and  a  portion  of  the 
external  part  of  the  ears  are  reddish-brown,  and  all  the  rest 
of  the  animal  is  white.  The  bulls  have  merely  the  rudiments 
of  manes,  consisting  of  a  ridge  of  coarse  hairs  upon  the  neck. 
The  bulls  fight  for  supremacy,  and  the  vanquished  submit  to 
the  law  of  superior  strength.  They  are  very  shy  and  wild, 
and  start  off  on  the  approach  of  danger;  and,  when  they 
threaten  an  attack,  they  make  circles  around  the  object,  ap- 
proaching nearer  at  each  time.  Lord  Tankerville  describes 
their  method  of  retreat,  which  is  eminently  characteristic  of 
their  wild  habits.  Like  the  Red  Deer,  they  place  the  in- 
equalities of  the  ground  between  them  and  their  pursuers  : 
they  set  off  in  a  kind  of  walk,  which  increases  to  a  trot,  and 
then,  having  got  the  ground  between  them  and  the  object, 
they  retreat  at  a  gallop,  availing  themselves  of  the  inequali- 
ties of  the  ground  in  such  a  manner,  that  they  will  traverse 
the  whole  park  almost  without  being  seen.  The  females 
conceal  their  young,  returning  to  suckle  them  several  times 

238  THE  OX. 

a-day.  The  calves  have  the  instinctive  wildness  of  the 
parents,  couching  on  the  ground  like  fawns,  when  surprised. 
It  is  said  that,  when  one  of  the  herd  is  wounded,  or  disabled 
from  age,  the  rest  will  set  upon  and  destroy  it ;  a  trait  com- 
mon to  other  ruminants, — to  the  Deer, — and  even  to  the 
Sheep,  in  its  wildest  and  rudest  state.  These  animals  can 
be  all  readily  domesticated.  When  taken  young,  and  treated 
in  the  manner  of  the  common  oxen,  they  assume  entirely  the 
habits  of  the  domestic  race. 

One  circumstance  common  to  both  the  herds  of  Wild  Oxen 
referred  to,  is  the  tendency  of  the  young  to  deviate  from  the 
"  marking,"  as  it  is  termed,  of  the  parents  ;  that  is,  to  be- 
come altogether  black,  or  altogether  white,  or  to  have  black 
ears  in  place  of  red  ears,  and  so  on  :  these  animals  are  de- 
stroyed, and,  therefore,  the  interesting  part  of  the  experi- 
ment is  interrupted,  of  shewing  what  characters  they  would 
assume,  were  they  to  be  left  in  the  natural  state.  Nothing 
is  better  known  to  breeders  than  that,  by  such  means,  all  the 
characters  of  colour  can  be  produced  in  any  breed ;  thus  the 
North  Devon  can  be  kept  all  red,  the  Pembroke  all  black, 
and  so  on  ;  and  this  is  done  from  generation  to  generation, 
by  the  course  pursued  in  the  case  of  these  wild  herds. 

The  other  parks  of  England  in  which  the  remains  of  this 
race  have  been,  or  are  yet,  preserved,  are  at  Chartley,  in 
Staffordshire,  at  Wollaton  in  Nottinghamshire,  at  Gisburne 
in  Craven,  at  Limehall  in  Cheshire,  at  Kibbesdale  in  York- 
shire, and  at  Burton  Constable  in  Yorkshire. 

The  wild  cattle  at  Chartley  Park,  the -property  of  Lord 
Ferrers,  resemble  those  at  Chillingham,  but  they  are  of  larger 
size,  and  have  the  muzzles  and  ears  black.  They  frequently 
tend  to  become  entirely  black ;  and  a  singular  superstition 
prevails  in  the  vicinity,  that,  when  a  black  calf  is  born,  some 
calamity  impends  over  the  noble  house  of  Ferrers.  All  the 
black  calves  are  destroyed  ;  and  thus,  as  in  other  cases,  we 
are  unable  to  know  what  ultimate  character  of  colour  the  race 
would  assume.  This  park  is  a  very  ancient  one  :  it  belonged 

HISTORY.  239 

to  Devereux,  Earl  of  Essex,  and  the  cattle  have  existed  in  it 
from  time  immemorial. 

Those  which  are  kept  at  Bibbesdale  are  destitute  of  horns. 
The  breed  at  Burton  Constable,  situated  in  the  district  of 
Holderness,  perished  all  in  the  course  of  the  last  century,  of 
an  epidemic  disorder.  They  were  of  large  size, — a  conse- 
quence of  the  richness  of  the  pasture  in  which  they  fed. 
They  had  the  ears,  muzzle,  and  tip  of  the  tail,  black. 

Other  herds  of  this  race  appear  to  have  existed  in  different 
parts  of  England,  but  they  have  merged  in  the  common 
breeds  of  the  country,  and  the  records  of  them  have  been 
lost.  Fortunately,  however,  for  the  inquiries  of  the  natu- 
ralist, the  same  animals  are  yet  to  be  found  in  that  part  of 
the  kingdom  where  we  naturally  should  look  for  the  exist- 
ence of  an  indigenous  race  of  cattle,  namely,  Wales,  under 
such  circumstances  as  to  set  at  rest  the  questions  that  have 
been  agitated  regarding  the  relation  which  exists  between 
them  and  the  domestic  race. 

The  ancient  Britons,  it  is  known,  when  their  country  was 
overwhelmed  by  the  Roman  power,  made  a  brave  defence  in 
the  mountains  beyond  the  Severn,  preserving  their  flocks 
and  herds,  in  all  times  the  cherished  possession  of  the  Celtic 
nations.  Although  overrun  for  a  season  by  the  Roman 
legions,  they  defended  themselves  against  the  Saxon  nations 
with  determined  courage,  and  only  yielded  at  length,  at  a 
long  posterior  period,  to  the  English  power,  when  it  became 
too  strong  to  be  resisted  ;  and  even  then  they  retained  their 
customs,  their  language,  and  their  national  feelings.  It  is 
here,  as  in  the  countries  beyond  the  Grampians,  that  we  must 
look  for  the  older  races  of  the  domestic  oxen  of  the  country. 

It  appears  from  various  notices,  that  a  race  of  cattle, 
similar  to  that  which  we  now  find  at  Chillingham  Park  and 
elsewhere,  existed  in  Wales  in  the  10th  century.  Howell 
Dha,  surnamed  the  Good,  describes  certain  cattle  of  Wales 
as  being  white,  and  having  red  ears.  At  a  subseqent  period, 
we  are  informed  that,  as  a  compensation"  for  offences  com- 

240  THE  ox. 

mitted  against  certain  Princes  of  Wales,  there  were  de- 
manded 100  white  cows  with  red  ears  ;  but  that,  if  the  cattle 
were  of  a  black  colour,  150  were  to  be  given.  When  the 
Princes  of  Wales  were  compelled  to  render  homage  to  the 
ICings  of  England,  the  same  kinds  of  cattle,  we  are  in- 
formed, were  sometimes  rendered  in  acknowledgment  of  the 
sovereignty.  In  an  old  history  of  Flanders,  quoted  by  Holm- 
shed,  it  is  stated  that  the  lady  of  the  Lord  de  Breuse,  in 
order  to  appease  King  John,  whom  she  and  her  husband  had 
mortally  offended,  sent  to  the  Queen  a  present  of  400  kine  and 
one  bull,  all  of  white  colour  except  the  ears,  which  were  red. 

The  individuals  of  this  race  yet  existing  in  Wales  are 
found  chiefly  in  the  county  of  Pembroke,  where  they  have 
been  kept  by  some  individuals  perfectly  pure,  as  a  part  of 
their  regular  farm-stock.  Until  a  period  comparatively 
recent,  they  were  very  numerous  ;  and  persons  are  yet  living 
in  the  county  of  Pembroke,  who  remember  when  they  were 
driven  in  droves  to  the  pastures  of  the  Severn,  and  the  neigh- 
bouring markets.  Their  whole  essential  characters  are  the 
same  as  those  at  Chillingham  and  Chartley  Park,  and  else- 
where. Their  horns  are  white,  tipped  with  black,  and  ex- 
tended and  turned  upwards  in  the  manner  distinctive  of  the 
wild  breed.  The  inside  of  the  ears  and  the  muzzle  are  black, 
and  their  feet  are  black  to  the  fetlock  joint.  Their  skin  is 
unctuous,  and  of  a  deep-toned  yellow  colour.  Individuals  of 
this  race  are  sometimes  born  entirely  black,  and  then  they  are 
not  to  be  distinguished  from  the  common  cattle  of  the  moun- 

The  same  race  has  been  found  in  several  parts  of  the 
Continent  of  Europe.  In  Italy  a  few  herds  have  been  pre- 
served. In  the  North  of  Sweden,  the  race  can  yet  be  dis- 
tinguished amongst  the  reclaimed  cattle  of  the  country.  In 
the  denies  of  the  Pyrenees,  they  have  been  observed  by 
English  sportsmen,  altogether  wild,  and  marked  in  the  same 
manner  as  the  cattle  of  the  parks,  and  in  no  respect  to  be 
distinguished  from  them. 

HISTORY.  241 

The  peculiar  colour  and  marking  which  this  race  assumes 
and  retains  in  the  English  parks,  has  been  supposed  by  some 
to  indicate  a  distinction  of  species,  But  colour,  as  is  well 
known  to  naturalists,  is  one  of  the  external  characters  of  ani- 
mals the  least  to  be  regarded  as  indicative  of  specific  dis- 
tinctions ;  and,  in  the  case  of  these  oxen,  it  has  been  seen  that 
the  character  itself  is  not  constant.  It  may  seem  remark- 
able that  these  animals,  in  their  wild  state,  should  be  all 
white,  with  coloured  muzzles  and  ears  ;  but  this  is  not 
more  remarkable  than  that  Boars,  in  the  wild  state,  should 
be  brown,  or  Turkeys  in  the  wild  state  black,  with  white 
tips  to  their  wings.  The  colour,  we  may  suppose,  is  that 
which  the  animals  tended  to  assume  in  a  wooded  country  in 
the  climate  of  Albion.  Under  other  conditions  of  tempera- 
ture and  food,  the  colour  of  the  same  variety  might  become 
black,  with  a  peculiar  marking  equally  constant.  An  ancient 
writer,  speaking  of  Uri  in  the  woods  of  Poland,  describes 
them  as  black,  with  a  white  streak  along  the  chine.  In  the 
North  Highlands  of  Scotland,  the  prevailing  colour  of  the 
cattle  is  black :  but  sometimes  individuals  are  born  white, 
with  coloured  ears  and  muzzle,  so  nearly  resembling  the  Wild 
Cattle  of  the  parks,  that  they  would  be  mistaken  for  them. 

The  habits  of  the  wild  race  have  been  supposed  to  present 
an  impassable  distinction  between  it  and  the  tame ;  but  this 
difference  assuredly  does  not  constitute  a  distinction  of  species. 
It  is  known  that  the  instincts  and  habits  of  animals  are  suited 
to  the  condition  in  which  they  are  placed,  and  change  with 
-that  condition.  The  Wild  Hog,  a  bold  and  powerful  creature 
in  his  state  of  liberty,  is  no  sooner  submitted  to  domestica- 
tion, than  his  habits  adapt  themselves  to  his  new  condition, 
and  he  communicates  to  his  offspring  all  the  habits  which 
fit  them  for  a  state  of  slavery ;  and  so  it  is  with  other 
animals  subjected  to  domestication.  The  Wild  Oxen  of 
the  parks,  breeding  solely  with  one  another,  and  living,  in 
so  far  as  their  confined  condition  will  allow,  in  the  natural 


242  THE  OX. 

state,  retain  the  habits  and  instincts  proper  to  them  in  that 
condition,  and  communicate  these  to  their  young.  Hence 
the  young  calves  couch  themselves  on  the  ground,  and 
tremble  when  approached ;  but  these  characters  disappear 
in  the  next  generation,  when  the  animals  are  domesticated : 
hence  the  mothers  conceal  their  calves,  and  return  to  suckle 
them  at  stated  times  ;  but  the  same  thing  has  been  observed  in 
the  case  of  cows  of  the  Scotch  mountains,  when  left  in  a  state 
of  liberty.  All  the  habits  of  these  animals,  in  short,  includ- 
ing that  of  goring  to  death  their  wounded  companions,  are 
those  of  the  wild'state,  and  disappear  when  they  are  reclaimed. 
Thus  we  have  all  the  evidence  which  the  question  admits 
of,  that  no  real  distinction  exists  between  the  Wild  Oxen  of 
the  parks,  and  those  which  have  for  ages  been  subjected  to 
domestication  in  the  same  country ;  and  that  these  Wild 
Oxen  are  no  other  than  the  Uri  of  the  ancient  forests  of  Eu- 
rope.— That  the  wild  of  the  Bos  Taurus  inhabited,  in  like 
manner,  the  woods  of  Western  Asia,  may,  from  analogy,  be 
inferred.  The  Scriptures  speak  of  Wild  Oxen,  as  distin- 
guished from  those  that  are  tame ;  and  the  Arabian  poets 
abound  with  allusions  to  the  hunting  of  the  Wild  Bull,  J)ut 
do  not  afford  data  for  determining  whether  this  was  the 
Urus,  the  Bison,  or  any  other  species. 

The  Ox  has  been  domesticated  from  the  earliest  records 
of  human  society,  and  may  be  deemed  to  have  been  an  in- 
strument, under  Providence,  for  leading  men  from  the  savage 
state.  Although  endowed  with  vast  physical  powers,  his 
instinct  leads  him  to  yield  up  his  faculties  to  the  service  of 
man,  by  assisting  him  in  bearing  burdens,  and  tilling  the 
earth ;  and  in  every  age  his  patient  docility  has  been  applied 
to  these  ends.  The  wealth  of  the  first  people  was  their 
flocks  and  herds :  "  And  Abram  was  very  rich  in  cattle,  in 
silver,  and  in  gold;  and  he  went  on  his  journeys  from  the 
south  even  to  Bethel,  unto  the  place  where  his  tent  had  been  at 
the  beginning,  between  Bethel  and  Hai,  unto  the  place  of  the 

HISTORY.  243 

altar  which  he  had  made  there  at  the  first ;  and  there  Abram 
called  on  the  name  of  the  Lord ;  and  Lot  also,  which  went 
with  Abram,  had  flocks,  and  herds,  and  tents."  And  in  the 
case  of  all  the  early  nations  of  which  we  read,  the  Ox  was 
amongst  the  valued  possessions  of  the  people.  He  was  a  me- 
dium of  traffic,  and  his  image  came  at  length  to  be  stamped 
upon  the  metals  used  as  money.  His  flesh  was  usually  per- 
mitted to  be  eaten,  though,  in  certain  cases,  the  use  of  it 
was  limited,  or  altogether  forbidden,  as  when  he  was  em- 
ployed in  labour,  or  when  his  numbers  were  few,  as  in  the 
earlier  stages  of  societies.  The  Hindoos  were  forbidden  to 
shed  his  blood  at  all ;  the  Egyptians  were  only  permitted  to 
do  so  at  sacrifices ;  and  other  nations  were  compelled  to 
equal  abstinence.  The  Jews  were  suffered  to  partake  of  his 
flesh  freely,  on  the  condition,  simply,  that  the  firstling  of  the 
herd  should  be  dedicated  to  the  Lord,  and  that  no  part  of  the 
blood  should  be  tasted ;  but  the  Jews  were  naturally  abste- 
mious in  the  use  of  animal  food,  and  such  of  the  calves  as 
were  not  killed,  were  mostly  brought  up  for  the  purposes  of 
labour,  or  the  yielding  of  milk. 

History,  sacred  and  profane,  evinces  to  us  in  what  estima- 
tion this  gift  of  Providence  has  been  held  in  every  age.  The 
Bull  became  one  of  the  signs  of  the  Zodiac  in  the  earliest 
period  of  nations.  He  formed  an  object  of  adoration  to 
people  of  the  East,  as  he  yet  does  to  their  descendants,  after 
the  lapse  of  an  unknown  period.  The  Egyptians  made  him 
the  subject  of  a  preposterous  worship,  as  did  the  Lybians  and 
other  ancient  nations ;  and  he  entered  largely  into  the  my- 
thological systems  of  Greece  and  Rome.  Independently, 
too,  of  religious  feeling,  a  certain  respect  was  manifested 
towards  the  Ox,  on  account  of  the  services  he  rendered.  The 
precept  of  the  Jewish  law,  "  Thou  shalt  not  muzzle  the 
ox  when  he  treadeth  out  the  corn,"  which  likewise  is  a 
precept  of  the  Hindoo  law,  was  an  observance  founded  on 
tenderness  towards  the  animal,  as  well  as  an  expression 
of  thankfulness  at  this  the  crowning  labour  of  the  har- 



vest.  The  rustic  writers  of  the  Romans,  in  their  lessons 
on  the  treatment  of  the  labouring  Ox,  shew  how  much  of 
real  humanity  entered  into  their  feelings  regarding  this 
ancient  and  docile  assistant  of  the  husbandman.  They 
direct  that  the  length  of  .the  furrow  shall  not  exceed  120 
paces,  or  else  that  the  oxen  shall  have  a  time  for  breath- 
ing allowed  them  before  they  are  urged  to  renewed  eiforts. 
The  ploughman  is  required  to  shift  the  yoke,  that  their  backs 
may  not  be  galled, — to  moisten  their  mouths  with  water, 
and  to  strengthen  them  with  wine  when  they  are  suffering 
from  fatigue.  Even  the  safeguard  of  the  laws  was  thrown 
around  these  humble  servants  of  the  farm.  To  destroy  them 
wantonly  was  a  public  crime.  A  Roman  citizen,  we  are 
informed  by  Pliny,  was  condemned  to  exile,  because  he  had 
killed  his  labouring  ox,  to  gratify  the  appetite  of  a  capricious 
boy  ;  and  other  examples  are  on  record,  to  testify  how  greatly 
the  useful  services  of  the  Ox  were  valued.  The  Celtic  na- 
tions of  Europe  seem  to  have  possessed  somewhat  of  the 
same  sentiments,  mixed  with  religious  feelings.  Even  to 
our  own  day,  certain  superstitious  remembrances  are  attached 
to  the  Red  Cow,  whose  milk  is  believed  to  be  a  charm  for 
certain  ailments. 

The  Ox  contributes  to  human  support,  by  other  means  than 
his  strength  employed  in  labour,  or  his  body  rendered  to  us 
when  dead.  The  female  yields  her  milk  in  quantity  not  only 
sufficient  to  rear  her  own  offspring,  but  to  afford  a  salutary 
food  to  her  protectors.  She  gives  it  with  a  facility  and  in 
an  abundance  unknown  in  the  case  of  any  other  animal. 
While  most  of  the  mammalia  will  refuse  to  yield  their  milk 
unless  their  young  be  suffered  to  partake  of  it,  the  Cow  gives 
it  beyond  the  period  of  maternal  solicitude  as  freely  as  when 
her  young  is  before  her  eyes.  She  is  every  where  docile, 
patient,  and  gentle.  She  remains  quiescent  with  the  herd, 
or  shares  with  humbleness  her  portion  of  the  shed  which  is 
their  common  shelter.  She  obeys  the  commands  of  her  keeper, 
and  recognises  the  milkmaid's  voice. 

HISTORY.  245 

While  the  female  is  thus  gentle  and  humble,  the  bull  re- 
tains much  of  the  natural  fierceness  of  his  race.  He  scarcely 
fears  an  enemy,  and  is  easily  excited  to  rage.  He  can  be 
reduced  to  subjection  by  the  effects  of  discipline,  and  made 
to  assist  in  all  the  labours  of  the  field ;  but  yet  his  passions 
are  often  suddenly  excited,  and  his  great  strength  may  be 
dangerously  exerted.  But,  by  depriving  him  of  his  virile 
powers,  all  the  native  ferocity  of  his  race  disappears,  and  he 
becomes  as  submissive  as  the  heifer.  It  is  then  that  he  gives 
us  the  benefit  of  his  vast  strength,  exempt  from  the  danger  of 
his  natural  temperament,  bending  his  neck  to  patient  toil, 
and  grazing  with  content  in  his  allotted  pastures. 

We  are  apt  to  associate  with  the  character  of  this  useful 
creature,  ideas  of  apathy,  and  want  of  intelligence.  But  the 
brain  of  the  Ox  is  larger  than  that  of  the  Horse  ;  and,  though 
he  is  far  inferior  to  that  noble  creature  in  spirit  and  grace, 
it  is  questionable  if  he  falls  short  of  him  in  sagacity.  The 
bull  has  been  known  to  charge  himself  with  the  guardianship 
of  the  herd,  to  keep  them  from  wandering  into  forbidden 
pastures,  and  to  protect  from  intruders  their  allotted  bound- 
aries. When  beasts  of  prey  approach,  he  is  at  the  post  of 
danger,  marshalling  the  herd  into  a  phalanx,  and  placing  the 
young  in  the  centre  and  rear. 

When  the  season  of  sexual  desire  arrives,  fierce  combats 
ensue  between  the  rival  bulls.  Their  eyes  sparkle  with  rage, 
and  they  rush  upon  one  another  with  desperate  force.  But 
their  fury  is  given,  not  for  the  purpose  of  mutual  destruction, 
but  for  an  end  connected  with  the  preservation  of  the  health 
and  vigour  of  the  race.  It  is  necessary  that  the  strongest 
males  should  propagate  the  race,  to  preserve  it  from  feebleness 
and  degeneracy.  They  contend  with  the  powerful  strength 
and  arms  with  which  Nature  has  supplied  them,  for  the  mas- 
tery of  the  herd.  But  they  do  not  seek  to  shed  each  other's 
blood.  The  vanquished  yield  to  the  law  of  superior  strength, 
and  the  most  powerful  assumes  his  fitting  place. 

In  the  vast  plains  of  South  America,  where  the  emanci- 

24G  THE  OX. 

pated  herds  have  regained  a  certain  degree  of  natural  liberty, 
travellers  have  observed  that,  when  a  bullock  has  been  slain 
for  food,  the  herd  surround  the  murderers  of  their  comrade, 
and  express,  by  loud  cries  and  groans,  their  sympathy  and 
sorrow,  while  tears  have  seemed  to  roll  from  their  eyes.  They 
cannot  know  why  the  blood  of  their  fellow  should  be  shed, 
and  his  body  mangled ;  but  they  shew  that  nature  has  not 
rendered  them  insensible  to  the  sufferings  of  their  comrades. 
When  the  Ox  is  merely  a  beast  to*  be  fattened  and  destroy- 
ed,— when  he  neither  shares  the  toils  of  his  master,  nor  par- 
ticipates in  his  regards, — when  his  instincts  have  been  blunt- 
ed, without  instruction  having  been  supplied, — he  does  indeed 
seem  to  become  the  stupid  and  insensible  brute  which  we 
hold  him  to  be.  What  need  has  he  of  intelligence  in  order 
that  he  may  be  tied  to  the  stall,  or  driven  to  his  pasture,  and 
back  again  to  the  slaughter-house  I  Nature  is  sparing  of  her 
mental  gifts,  giving  to  each  creature  that  which  fits  it  for  its 
condition.  What,  to  the  victim  of  our  gluttony  and  avarice, 
destined  to  unnatural  repletion  at  the  stall  that  he  may  be 
fattened  in  the  shortest  time,  and  doomed  to  die  a  cruel 
death,  would  avail  the  gifts  of  consciousness  of  danger,  doci- 
lity, and  the  knowledge  of  what  is  good  for  him  ?  His  brief 
life  would  be  the  more  embittered,  and  the  bounties  of  Na- 
ture would  be  a  cruel  present.  But  let  us  look  at  those  wild 
Oxen  which  have  never  been  reduced  to  slavery,  as  the  Uri 
of  our  parks,  or  the  European  Oxen,  which,  in  the  fertile  wil- 
derness of  the  New  World,  have  regained  their  liberty,  and 
we  shall  find  a  creature  altogether  different  from  the  stupid 
and  insensible  slave  whom  we  have  degraded.  We  shall  find 
him  wary  of  danger,  resolute  in  his  defence  against  the  beasts 
of  prey,  agile  and  swift,  arid  calling  into  action  all  his  instincts 
for  his  own  defence,  and  braving  death  that  he  may  protect 
the  feeble  of  his  herd.  Nay,  let  us  regard  him,  even  in  his 
enslaved  condition,  but  when  human  reason  has  aided  him 
with  a  ray  of  light,  and  we  shall  see  him  become  almost  as 
docile  as  a  dog,  guarding  the  property  of  his  master,  nay,  so 

HISTORY.  247 

far  departing  from  his  natural  habits,  as  to  mingle,  for  his 
master's  sake,  in  scenes  of  strife  and  bloodshed. 

In  the  vast  regions  of  Southern  Africa,  peopled  by  tribes 
of  warriors  and  herdsmen,  cattle  abound  and  multiply,  and 
form  the  wealth  of  the  little  communities.  The  simple  and 
patient  Hottentots,  while  yet  they  had  a  country  which  they 
could  call  their  own,  were  rich  in  this  kind  of  possession ; 
and  even  yet,  after  generations  of  servitude,  retain  the  habits 
and  feelings  of  their  nomadic'state.  The  tending  of  cattle  is 
still  the  favourite  employment  of  their  lives.  They  know  the 
individuals  of  the  herd,  and  address  them  by  their  names. 
They  had  their  backleys,  or  trained  oxen,  of  which  each  kraal 
had  at  least  six  :  they  were  selected  from  those  which  seemed 
the  most  capable  of  receiving  instruction,  and  when  one  died 
or  became  unserviceable  from  age,  another  was  chosen  with 
due  solemnity  by  the  elders  of  the  tribe  to  supply  its  room. 
They  were  taught  to  become  the  guardians  of  the  flocks  and 
herds  of  the  little  community ;  and  they  kept  watch  against  the 
attacks  of  beasts  of  prey.  The  Hysena,  we  are  told,  however 
hungry,  would  not  venture  to  attack  a  flock  guarded  by  two  or 
three  of  these  courageous  creatures,  which,  when  in  sufficient 
numbers,  would  even  make  head  against  the  Lion  in  defence 
of  their  charge.  They  kept  watch  against  the  robbers  of  other 
tribes.  They  knew  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  kraal,  men, 
women,  and  children,  and  manifested  towards  them  the  same 
respect  which  a  dog  displays  to  those  who  live  in  the  house 
of  his  master.  Whilst,  therefore,  there  was  no  inhabitant  of 
the  kraal  who  might  not  with  safety  have  approached  the 
flocks,  yet,  should  a  stranger  have  attempted  to  do  so,  and 
especially  a  European,  without  being  accompanied  by  a  Hot- 
tentot, he  would  have  been  in  great  danger :  the  backleys 
would  have  come  upon  him  at  speed,  and,  unless  he  had  fire- 
arms to  defend  himself,  or  had  the  means  of  escape  to  a  tree, 
or  was  within  reach  of  the  shepherds,  he  would  surely  have 
been  killed.*  Not  only  were  these  backleys  employed  to  be 

*  Ivolben,  vol.  i. 

248  THE  OX, 

the  guides  and  protectors  of  the  common  flock,  but  others 
were  trained  for  the  purposes  of  war.  Even  still,  these  war- 
oxen  are  used  by  the  Caffres  and  independent  tribes  of  the  in- 
terior. They  are  taught  to  share  the  fierce  passions  of  their 
masters  ;  to  rush  upon  the  opposing  ranks,  trample  the  men 
under  their  feet,  and  gore  them  with  their  horns.* 

Nothing  seems  more  unlike  the  dull  and  apathetic  tem- 
perament of  the  Ox  than  a  love  of  distinction  ;  yet  that  a  feel- 
ing akin  to  this  may  exist,  appears  from  a  curious  fact  fre- 
quently mentioned.  In  the  mountains  of  Switzerland,  where 
a  beautiful  race  of  cows  is  reared,  it  is  the  practice  to  attach 
bells  to  the  most  trusty  of  the  cows,  that  the  sound  may  keep 
the  herd  together,  and  direct  the  herdsman  to  the  place 
where  they  are  pasturing.  These  cows  are  the  pride  of  the 
cowkeeper:  he  has  various  sets  of  these  bells,  and  on  cer- 
tain occasions,  the  favourite  cow  has  the  finest  and  largest 
bell  assigned  to  her,  and  the  gayest  trappings :  the  others 
have  inferior  bells,  and  less  ornamented  collars,  in  a  gra- 
dation downwards  to  those  to  which  no  distinction  is  awarded. 
To  deprive  the  cows  of  their  wonted  ornaments  is  to  inflict 
upon  them  a  punishment  wrhich  they  grievously  feel,  mani- 
festing their  sense  of  humiliation  by  piteous  lowings.  On 
gala  days,  a  kind  of  procession  takes  place  ;  the  herdsman  is 
in  the  van,  and  next  in  order  comes  the  favourite  cow,  lead- 
ing the  herd,  ornamented  with  her  tinkling  bells,  and  gay 
apparel.  Should  another,  from  any  cause,  be  made  to  take 
her  place,  she  manifests  her  vexation  by  continued  lowing, 
abstains  from  food,  and  attacks  with  fury  the  rival  that  has 
gained  her  honours.  A  certain  cow,  M.  Latrobe  informs  us, 
who  had  long  borne  the  badge  of  distinction,  had  just  given 
birth  to  a  calf,  and  was  reckoned  too  feeble  to  bear  her  usual 
post  in  the  honours  of  the  day,  and  even  the  ordinary  bell  was 
thought  to  be  too  heavy  for  her.  The  gay  procession  moved 
on,  but  the  poor  cow  that  had  been  stripped  of  her  accus- 
tomed honours  did  not  share  in  the  general  joy  :  after  a  few 

*  Le  Vaillant,  vol.  ii. 

HISTORY.  .  249 

steps  she  faltered  in  her  pace :  the  attendants  tried  to  coax 
her  on,  but  in  vain  :  she  stopped,  and  at  length  lay  down  as 
if  to  die.  An  old  herdsman  soon  divined  the  cause  :  he 
brought  from  the  house  a  bell  and  collar,  such  as  she  had 
been  used  to  bear  :  she  no  sooner  felt  the  well-known  appen- 
dage at  her  neck  than  she  rose  from  the  ground,  bounded 
gaily,  as  if  in  possession  of  her  usual  health,  and,  taking  her 
place  in  the  van,  was,  from  that  moment,  as  well  as  ever. 
It  is  known,  that  a  practice  of  the  mountain  peasants  of 
Switzerland,  is  to  collect  the  herds  by  sounding  a  long  wooden 
pipe,  whose  deep  and  simple  tones,  mellowed  by  distance, 
delight  the  ear.  No  sooner  does  the  well-known  sound  reach 
the  herd,  than  they  all  obey  the  signal,  and  hasten  to  the 
place  of  rendezvous.  Should  one,  from  any  cause,  as  from 
falls  or  weakness,  be  unable  to  keep  pace  with  her  fellows, 
she  utters  loud  and  painful  lowings,  as  if  calling  for  assist- 
ance, and  testifying  that  it  is  want  of  power,  and  not  of  will, 
that  makes  her  linger  behind  her  comrades.  The  simple 
tones  of  the  herdsman's  pipe  form  the  well-known  air  of  the 
Ranz  de  Yaches,  which  is  known  to  thrill  like  a  charm  to  the 
heart  of  the  mountain  Swiss,  when  distant  from  his  beloved 

Such  is  the  creature  which  reason  and  conscience  teach  us 
to  treat  with  humanity  and  justice.  It  is  painful  to  say  that  , 
it  is  too  often  made  the  victim  of  wanton  cruelty.  Who  has 
not  heard  of  those  barbarous  sports  which  are  yet  practised 
in  the  southern  countries  of  Europe,  where  the  bull,  brought 
into  the  arena,  is  roused  to  phrensy,  and  put  to  a  cruel 
death  I  The  bull-fights  of  Spain  and  Italy  are  yet  the  de- 
light of  all  conditions  of  people  in  those  countries,  and  afford 
the  evidence  of  the  power  of  habit  to  blunt  the  most  natural 
feelings,  and  reconcile  us  to  the  most  revolting  spectacles. 

Throughout  the  kingdoms  of  Spain  and  Portugal  are  ex- 
tensive forests,  in^which  large  herds  of  cattle  find  support, 
almost  in  a  state  of  natural  wildness.  It  is  from  these  herds 
that  the  fiercest  and  strongest  bulls  are  obtained,  by  a  kind 

250  THE  OX. 

of  hunting,  nearly  as  dangerous  as  the  subsequent  combat  in 
which  the  victims  are  to  engage.  The  country  people,  from 
great  distances,  assemble,  mounted  on  horseback  as  best  they 
can,  and  armed  with  long  staves,  terminated  by  long  spikes. 
Lines  being  formed,  they  surround  the  herd,  and  endeavour 
to  separate  the  bulls.  This  they  do  by  galloping  to  a  bull, 
and  goading  him  with  their '  spikes  ;  the  animal,  enraged, 
turns  upon  his  assailant,  and  pursues  him  ;  but  another 
horseman  attacking  him  in  a  similar  manner,  the  animal 
turns  upon  his  new  enemy,  who  is  in  like  manner  relieved, 
and  so  on,  until  at  length  the  bull,  tired  out  and  bewildered, 
is  separated  from  his  fellows.  A  sufficient  number  having 
been  treated  in  this  manner,  they  are  hemmed  in  by  the 
armed  horsemen,  and  goaded  forward  to  the  town  or  place 
where  the  future  combat  is  to  take  place.* 

The  fights  of  the  Circus  itself  have  been  described  by  all 
travellers  who  have  visited  these  beautiful  countries.  The 
bull,  admitted  into  the  arena,  is  received  with  the  shouts  of 
the  assembled  spectators.  Bewildered  and  amazed,  he  rushes 
forward,  but  is  at  once  confronted  by  the  Picadore  on  foot, 
armed  with  short  darts.  The  animal  rushes  wildly  on  his 
opponent,  who,  with  matchless  dexterity  and  grace,  avoids 
the  onset,  and  plants  his  short  darts  in  the  neck  and  body  of 
the  victim.  Bellowing  with  rage  and  pain,  the  wounded  ani- 
mal gallops  round  the  slaughter-house,  and  is  confronted  by 
other  Picadores  with  the  like  success,  until  the  spectators, 
satiated,  permit  him  to  be  relieved  from  persecution,  or  direct 
him  to  be  slain.  But,  in  other  cases,  armed  horsemen  enter 
the  lists,  and  attack  the  bull  with  lances.  In  this  manner, 
the  youthful  cavaliers  display,  to  the  best  advantage,  their 
courage  and  address.  But  this  sport  is  more  dangerous  and 
bloody  than  the  other,  for  often  one  or  more  horses  are  mor- 
tally wounded,  while  shouts  and  screams  of  joy  attest  the 
delight  of  the  spectators.  In  modern  Rome,  the  same  sports 

•    Library  of  Entertaining  Knowledge.     Menageries. 

HISTORY.  251 

are  practised,  though  with  somewhat  less  of  inhumanity  than 
in  Spain.*  The  bulls  are  of  the  fine  race  of  the  Campagna 
di  Roma,  which  are  of  larger  size  than  those  of  Spain.  They 
are  cruelly  baited,  but  never  put  to  death,  though  the  less 
manly  practice  is  sometimes  adopted  of  setting  upon  them 
with  large  dogs,  chiefly  of  the  Corsican  breed,  which  pin  the 
bulls  by  the  ears  and  lips.  The  dogs,  however,  are  often 
the  victims,  the  infuriated  bulls  catching  them  with  their 
long  horns,  tossing  them  in  the  air,  and  goring  them  to 

The  Ox,  in  certain  cases,  regains  his  liberty,  and  multi- 
plies in  the  natural  state.  Thus,  in  the  forests  of  Spain  and 
Portugal,  emancipated  oxen,  it  has  been  said,  are  numerous. 
They  have  become  more  wild,  swift,  and  wary,  but  have  not 
deviated  from  the  external  characters  of  the  subdued  race. 
When  taken,  and  reduced  to  captivity,  they  soon  reassume 
the  general  habits  of  the  domesticated  breeds.  In  Italy, 
great  numbers  of  cattle  may  be  said  to  be  nearly  wild :  they 
are  the  inhabitants  of  those  flat  and  pestilential  tracts  which 
stretch  between  the  Appenines  and  the  sea,  from  Naples, 
northward,  including  the  well-known  Campagna  di  Roma. 
To  this  dreary  tract  is  applied  the  general  term  Maremma, 
which,  during  a  period  of  the  year,  is  the  abode  of  pestilence 
and  death,  and  is  thinly  strewed  with  inhabitants,  the  vic- 
tims of  terrible  diseases.  The  cattle  are  under  the  charge 
of  armed  herdsmen,  who,  when  the  animals  are  to  be  taken 
to  the  towns,  pursue  them  on  horseback,  fasten  them  to  one 
another  by  the  horns,  and  goad  them  onward  with  their  long 

But  it  is  in  the  fertile  plains  of  South  America,  that  the  phe- 
nomenon presents  itself,  on  the  grandest  scale,  of  the  escape 
of  oxen  from  captivity,  and  of  their  multiplication  in  the 
state  of  nature.  The  origin  of  those  amazing  herds  which 
cover  the  plains  of  Paraguay,  Buenos  Ayres,  and  other  noble 
provinces,  is  traced,  by  Spanish  writers,  to  the  arrival,  by  the 
way  of  Brazil,  of  seven  cows  and  a  bull  from  Andalusia,  at 

252  THE  OX. 

the  city  of  Assumption,  on  the  Paraguay,  in  the  year  1556. 
The  owner  of  these  animals  having  driven  them  overland  to 
the  Great  Rio  Grange  or  Parana,  constructed  a  rude  raft, 
and  entrusted  them  to  the  care  of  one  Gaete,  who  descended 
the  Parana,  and  then,  ascending  the  Paraguay,  landed  his 
precious  charge  at  the  city  of  Assumption.  As  his  re- 
compense for  many  months  of  toil  and  danger,  Gaete  re- 
ceived one  cow,  which  gave  rise  to  the  saying,  common 
in  these  provinces,  that  a  thing  is  as  dear  as  Gaete's  cow. 
Whether  all  the  vast  herds  of  South  America  are  derived 
from  this  humble  source,  may  be  questioned.  But  however 
this  be,  it  is  certain  that  the  cattle  of  Europe  soon  multi- 
plied amazingly,  found  their  way  to  the  woods  and  rich 
Pampas,  where  they  increased  in  the  state  of  liberty,  and 
now  extend  in  countless  multitudes  from  the  southern 
boundary  of  Buenos  Ayres,  to  far  within  the  tropics  to  the 
north,  stretching,  in  many  cases,  from  the  Atlantic  to  the 
Cordilleras.  They  are  found  in  the  Brazilian  as  well  as  in 
the  Spanish  provinces,  in  the  wild  as  well  as  in  a  domesti- 
cated state,  and  have  extended  beyond  the  Andes  into  the 
beautiful  countries  on  the  Pacific,  where  they  are  reared  in 
the  state  of  domestication.  But  it  is  in  the  more  temperate 
parts  of  Paraguay,  and  the  countries  of  the  Rio  de  la  Plata, 
extending  westward,  that  their  numbers  have  become  the 
greatest,  and  that  those  marvellous  herds  of  them  are  to 
be  beheld,  which  have  escaped  entirely  from  the  dominion  of 
man,  and  fly  from  his  presence  like  beasts  of  chase.  They 
migrate  in  search  of  fresh  pastures  with  the  changes  of  the 
season,  the  strongest  of  the  bulls  assuming  the  guidance  of 
the  herd.  They  have  deviated  little  from  the  Andalusian 
type,  except  that  they  have  assumed  a  greater  uniformity  of 
colour,  and  that  the  bulls  exhibit  less  of  ferocity  and  bold- 
ness, as  is  common  with  other  animals  naturalized  in  Ame- 
rica. Their  colour  is  a  blackish-brown  ;  their  size  is  nearly 
the  same  as  in  the  original  race,  exceeding  it  in  the  more 
temperate  countries,  and  falling  short  of  it  in  the  warmer.  The 

HISTORY.  253 

power  of  the  female  to  yield  milk  constantly  diminishes  with 
the  heat  of  the  climate,  until,  at  the  tropics,  it  does  not 
amount  to  one-third  of  the  ordinary  quantity.  They  are 
reclaimed  with  such  facility,  that  the  wildest  herds  may  be 
domesticated  in  a  month.  They  are  hunted  for  their  hides 
by  people  of  the  country,  or  Gauchos,  who  pursue  them  on 
horseback  at  speed,  forming  two  lines,  meeting  at  an  angle 
in  the  rear.  The  person  who  is  behind  at  the  angle  or  meet- 
ing of  the  lines,  is  armed  with  a  sharp  instrument,  of  a  cres- 
cent-shape, fixed  to  a  long  handle.  With  this  he  hamstrings 
the  oxen  as  he  comes  up  to  them,  the  party  all  the  time  con- 
tinuing the  pursuit.  When  a  sufficient  number  have  been 
maimed,  and  left  on  the  ground,  the  party  returns,  the  prin- 
cipal hunter  piercing  the  prostrate  oxen  with  a  spear,  and 
others  instantly  dismounting,  and  stripping  off  the  hide  :  the 
carcasses  are  left  as  of  no  value,  to  be  devoured  by  vultures 
and  other  beasts  of  prey. 

Those  cattle  which  are  in  a  semi-domesticated  state,  and 
are  the  property  of  individuals,  are  kept  in  large  herds.  They 
are  under  the  charge  of  a  superintendent  with  several  assist- 
ants, whose  province  it  is  to  prevent  them  from  straying, 
to  protect  them  from  the  Jaguars,  and  other  beasts  of  prey, 
and  to  catch  those  which  are  to  be  slaughtered.  They  are 
caught  by  means  of  the  well-known  Lazo,  which  incessant 
practice  teaches  those  wild  people  to  throw  with  match- 
less dexterity.  It  consists  of  a  plaited  thong  of  hides,  forty 
or  fifty  feet  in  length,  with  a  noose  and  iron-ring  at  one  end. 
Swinging  the  noose  end  round  and  round  with  the  right  arm, 
the  other  end  being  coiled  over  the  left  arm,  and  fixed  to  the 
saddle  girth,  they  throw  their  singular  missile,  themselves 
all  the  while  at  speed,  and  entangle  the  victim  by  the  horns, 
the  neck,  or  by  one  or  both  legs,  as  may  be  wished,  and  in 
an  instant  hurl  him  to  the  ground.  One  superintendent, 
with  four  assistants,  is  reckoned  sufficient  for  the  tendence  of 
from  4000  to  5000  head  of  cattle,  often  extending  over  a 
space  of  eighteen  square  miles  of  country  ;  and  this  esta- 

254  THE  OX. 

blishment,  according  to  Azara,  requires  about  70  horses,  the 
Gauchos  almost  living  on  horseback.  Individual  proprietors 
have  often  enormous  herds,  some,  according  to  Spix,  as  many 
as  40,000  head.  In  Paraguay,  the  practice  is  to  drive  the 
cattle  once  a-week,  or  oftener,  to  an  elevated  circuit,  termed 
the  Rodeo ;  in  other  cases  this  is  only  done  once  a-year,  when 
the  bulls  are  emasculated,  generally  at  the  age  of  two  years, 
and  the  cattle  branded  with  the  owners'  mark.  These  animals 
do  not  differ  in  appearance  from  those  that  are  entirely  wild. 

But,  besides  these  wilder  herds,  it  is  common  for  the  owners 
to  keep  a  number  of  tame  cattle,  which  are  used  for  draught, 
or  for  yielding  milk,  which  is  partly  made  into  cheese.  But 
so  little  do  the  people  of  the  country  understand  the  making 
of  butter,  that  the  Emperor  of  the  Brazils,  in  possession  of 
the  finest  herds  in  the  world,  used  to  obtain  the  butter  for 
his  own  use  from  Ireland?  after  a  voyage  of  several  months. 
The  flesh  of  these  tame  cattle  is  preferred  to  that  of  the  wild. 
They  are  kept  in  enclosures  during  the  night,  and  permitted 
to  pasture,  during  the  day,  in  the  meadows  and  adjoining 

From  these  herds  of  cattle  are  derived  those  enormous 
supplies  of  skins  which  form  the  chief  export  of  the  countries 
of  the  Rio  de  la  Plata  and  the  interior.  Azara  informs  us, 
that,  in  1796,  the  export  of  hides  from  Buenos  Ayres  and 
Monte  Video  alone  was  from  800,000  to  a  million  annually  ; 
but,  to  form  an  idea  of  the  magnitude  of  the  continued  car- 
nage of  those  noble  herds,  wTe  must  consider  the  vast  and  pro- 
digal consumption  of  the  interior,  where  no  value  is  set  upon 
the  lives  of  animals  so  bounteously  supplied.  They  afford 
the  only  animal  food  of  the  settled  inhabitants,  who  use  it 
with  a  waste  that  exceeds  belief,  selecting  the  favourite  parts, 
and  leaving  the  rest  in  the  wilderness.  The  animals,  too,  are 
killed  in  multitudes  by  the  Indians,  who  plunder  them  from 
the  farms,  or  pursue  them  in  mere  wantonness.  Further, 
the  mortality  amongst  them  is  excessive,  from  the  attacks  of 
wild  beasts,  the  torments  of  venomous  insects,  which  pursue 

HISTORY.  255 

them  in  clouds,  and  the  effects  of  the  barbarous  treatment  of 
their  wild  keepers.  The  time,  indeed,  it  may  be  believed, 
will  come  when  those  rich  and  beautiful  lands,  so  blessed  by 
the  bounties  of  Nature,  so  cursed  by  the  ignorance  of  man, 
in  place  of  yielding  ship-loads  of  hides,  will  support  an  in- 
dustrious population  capable  of  appreciating  and  using  the 
natural  gifts  of  their  country. 

The  Ox  has  thus  found  a  new  habitat  more  suitable  for  the 
increase  of  his  numbers,  than  in  the  most  fertile  plains  of 
Asia  and  Europe.  He  has  also  been  carried  to  North  America 
and  its  islands,  wherever  the  settlements  of  Europeans  are 
found,  and  equally  adapts  himself  to  these  situations  as 
to  those  which  are  nearer  to  his  native  climes.  In  the  United 
States,  he  is  cultivated  with  considerable  care,  and  has  the 
same  useful  characters  communicated  to  him  by  artificial 
treatment,  and  the  selecting  of  the  parent  stock,  as  in  the 
countries  of  Europe,  where  attention  has  been  paid  to  the 
development  of  his  properties. 

But  in  the  warmer  regions  of  Eastern  Asia,  the  Ox  appears 
with  such  distinct  form  and  characters,  as  to  leave  the  na- 
turalist in  doubt  whether  he  ought  to  be  regarded  as  a  dis- 
tinct species,  rather  than  as  a  variety  or  race.  He  is  gene- 
rally termed  the  Zebu,  from  an  Indian  name ;  and  though  he 
differs  greatly  in  size  in  different  localities,  he  presents  every 
where  the  same  general  character  which  ancient  figures  shew 
him  to  have  possessed  from  the  earliest  times. 

The  Indian  Ox  has  a  flatter  and  more  oblique  forehead  than 
the  Ox  of  western  Asia  and  Europe ;  his  horns  are  more 
straight,  short,  and  directed  backwards;  his  ears  are  very  long, 
and  pendent.  He  is  furnished  with  a  large  fleshy  lump  upon 
the  shoulders,  his  haunch  is  very  round,  like  that  of  the  Gayal, 
and  his  limbs  are  slender  and  graceful.  His  skin  is  soft, 
and  he  is  furnished  with  a  large  dewlap  hanging  down  in 
folds.  In  his  general  form,  he  approaches  more  to  the  larger 
Antelopes  than  the  Ox  of  the  West. 

The  Zebu  is  found  throughout  the  whole  of  Hindostan,  and 

256  THE  OX. 

stretches  all  eastward  through  China,  to  Japan,  and  other 
islands  of  the  East.  He  gradually  diminishes  in  numbers 
beyond  the  Indus  to  the  west,  and  in  Persia  gives  entire 
place  to  the  common  races.  He  is  found,  however,  in  Ara- 
bia, having  been  probably  carried  thither  from  India.  An 
animal  similar  with  respect  to  the  possession  of  a  dorsal 
hump,  but  probably  of  African  descent,  is  numerous  in  Abys- 
sinia and  Upper  Egypt,  extending  along  the  eastern  coasts 
of  Africa  to  the  Island  of  Madagascar  and  the  country  of 
the  Caffres,  and  westwards  from  Abyssinia  to  the  Niger. 

He  was  found  in  Syria  before  the  Christian  era,  Aristotle 
distinctly  mentioning  the  humped  oxen  of  Syria.  It  has  been 
observed  as  remarkable,  that  the  Grecian  sculptors  gave  a 
dewlap  to  their  oxen  somewhat  like  that  of  Eastern  countries. 
No  conclusion  can  be  founded  on  this  concidence,  with  respect 
to  the  existence  of  this  race  in  Greece.  The  description  and 
sculptures  of  the  Greeks  exhibit  the  common,  and  not  the 
Indian  form.  Dewlaps  are  largely  developed  in  all  races  of 
Oxen  which  approach  the  natural  state ;  and  in  copying  the 
wilder  bulls  of  their  own  country,  the  sculptors  of  Greece  had 
sufficient  examples  of  the  graceful  dewlap  to  guide  them  in 
their  ideal  representations.  In  the  figures  of  the  Zodiac  by 
the  Egyptians  and  Greeks,  the  form  of  the  bull  is  always  that 
of  the  common  races,  and  never  of  the  Indian  animal.  On  the 
other  hand,  on  the  most  ancient  monuments  of  the  East,  as 
those  of  Elephanta,  all  the  memorials  of  whose  origin  are 
hidden  in  the  obscurity  of  the  past,  the  representations  of  the 
Ox  always  exhibit  the  Zebu  form.  From  the  remotest  anti- 
quity, therefore,  the  form  of  the  Indian  Zebu  has  remained 
unchanged.  Nay,  some  have  believed  that  the  Zebu  is  the 
original  type  of  the  Ox,  that  the  warmer  regions  of  the  East 
are  the  native  country  of  the  race,  and  that  it  is  only  as  he 
is  removed  from  these  that  he  assumes  the  ordinary  form. 
It  is  more  natural  to  believe  that  the  Indian  Ox  is  distinct 
in  the  natural  state. 

The  Zebu  differs  greatly  in  size  in  different  parts  of  Hin- 


HISTORY.  257 

dostan,  and  other  countries  of  the  East.  Like  many  species, 
he  dwindles  towards  the  countries  of  the  Pacific,  so  that  in 
Corea  and  the  Islands  of  Japan  he  is  little  larger  than  a 
Hog,  shewing  that  these  countries  are  at  the  limits  of  the 
natural  habitat  of  the  species.  The  finest  breeds  of  the 
Eastern  Zebu  are  produced  in  the  northern  provinces  of 
India.  There  they  are  tall  and  graceful  animals,  surpass- 
ing in  the  power  of  active  motion  any  of  the  races  of  Oxen 
with  which  we  are  conversant  in  Europe.  They  are  used 
for  the  saddle,  for  chariots,  for  the  bearing  of  burdens,  for 
common  draught,  and  all  the  labours  of  the  field.  They 
accompany  the  predatory  armies  of  Indian  nations  in  thou- 
sands, carrying  the  materials  of  war.  They  are  used  in  state 
processions  by  the  Princes  of  India.  They  are  guided  by  a 
cord  passed  through  the  septum  of  the  nose,  to  which  are 
attached  the  bridle-reins,  which,  when  not  used,  rest  upon 
the  hump  of  the  shoulder.  Their  motion  is  easy,  and  they 
trot  and  gallop  almost  as  freely  as  a  horse.  They  have  great 
powers  of  endurance,  frequently  travelling  sixty  or  eighty 
miles  a-day.  When  employed  in  chariots  or  the  plough,  they 
draw  by  a  yoke,  which  rests  upon  the  shoulder.  They  are 
exceedingly  tractable,  and  become  attached  to  their  keepers. 
The  milk-white  colour  is  esteemed  by  the  Hindoos,  which  it 
likewise  was  by  the  ancient  Egyptians,  as  having  a  charac- 
ter of  sanctity.  Very  often  rich  Hindoos  dedicate  a  parti- 
cular bull  of  the  sacred  colour  to  Siva,  when  he  is  branded 
by  the  emblem  of  the  god,  and  thenceforward  becomes  ex- 
empt from  the  contumely  of  servitude.  He  wanders  where 
he  will,  and  no  one  strikes,  molests,  or  turns  him  from  his 
path  :  he  feeds  in  the  gardens,  the  rice  fields,  or  wherever  he 
chooses  to  enter :  he  finds  his  way  into  the  market-places 
of  towns,  and  helps  himself  to  the  green  herbs  and  choicest 
fruits,  without  any  one  driving  him  away.  Impunity  ren- 
ders him  familiar  :  he  will  take  food  from  the  hand  Uke  a 
dog,  and  everywhere  dainties  are  presented  to  him  by  simple 


258  THE  OX. 

devotees.  These  consecrated  bulls  are  described  by  English 
residents  as  absolute  pests  in  the  villages  of  India,  thrust- 
ing their  noses  into  the  stalls  of  fruiterers  and  pastry-cooks, 
robbing  the  peasants  of  their  little  treasure,  and  helping 
themselves  to  whatever  they  please.  The  reverence,  how- 
ever, paid  to  the  Bull  and  the  Cow  is  not  extended  to  the 
emasculated  Ox,  who  is  treated  with  the  utmost  harshness, 
under  the  solitary  exception  of  obedience  to  the  law  common 
to  the  Hindoos  and  Jews,  of  not  muzzling  the  Ox  when  he 
treadeth  out  the  corn. 

Examples  of  the  larger  as  well  as  smaller  races  of  these 
animals  have  been  frequently  brought  to  England,  and  they 
have  been  made  to  cross  the  common  breeds  of  the  country. 
The  mixed  offspring  are  fruitful  with  one  another,  and  the 
characteristic  hump  disappears  with  the  first  cross.  In  the 
year  1832,  a  bull  and  cow  of  the  finer  breed  were  exhibited 
at  the  Christmas  Smithfield  Show  in  London,  under  the  name 
of  Nagpore  cattle.  The  following  account  of  them,  derived 
from  Mr  Perkins,  to  whom  they  belong,  is  given  by  Mr 
Youatt,  in  his  valuable  Treatise  on  Cattle,  contained  in  the 
Library  of  Useful  Knowledge. 

"  They  were  bred  by  Lieutenant-Colonel  Skinner,  at  his 
farm  at  Danah,  near  Pokah,  on  the  borders  of  the  Bichaneer 
desert,  100  miles  to  the  westward  of  Delhi.  They  are  not 
Buffaloes,  but  of  the  highest  breed  of  Indian  cattle.  They 
are  used  in  India  by  the  higher  orders  to  draw  their  state- 
carriages,  and  are  much  valued  for  their  size,  speed,  and  en- 
durance, and  sell  at  very  high  prices.  These  specimens 
arrived  at  Calcutta,  a  distance  of  1400  miles,  in  January 
1829,  and  were  then  something  under  six  months  old.  They 
were  sent  as  a  present  to  Mr  Wood,  who  was  then  residing 
at  Calcutta,  and  by  whom  they  were  presented  to  Mr  Perkins. 
Colonel  Skinner  has  a  large  stock  of  them,  and  six  or  seven 
beasts  are  always  kept  saddled  to  carry  the  military  dis- 
patches. They  remain  saddled  three  or  four  hours,  and  if 
not  wanted  in  that  time,  fresh  ones  are  brought  to  relieve 

HISTORY.  259 

their  companions.  They  will  travel  with  a  soldier  on  their 
back  fifteen  or  sixteen  hours  a-day,  at  the  rate  of  six  miles 
an  hour.  Their  action  is  particularly  fine,  nothing  like  that 
of  the  English  cattle,  with  the  sideway  circular  action  of 
their  hind-legs  ;  the  Nagpore  cattle  bring  their  hind-legs 
under  them  in  as  straight  a  line  as  the  Horse.  They  are 
very  active,  and  can  clear  a  five-barred  gate  with  the  greatest 
ease.  Mr  Perkins  has  a  calf  which  has  leaped  over  an  iron 
fence  higher  than  any  five-barred  gate ;  and  the  bull  fre- 
quently jumps  over  the  same  fence  in  order  to  get  at  the 
water,  and,  when  he  has  drunk  his  fill,  leaps  back  again. 
The  bull  was  in  high  condition  when  exhibited.  He  is  em- 
ployed in  a  light  cart  in  various  jobs  about  the  farm.  Some- 
times he  goes  fore-horse  in  the  waggon-team  to  deliver  corn  ; 
he  also  drags  the  bush-harrow,  and  draws  the  light  roller 
over  the  ploughed  land.  He  is  very  docile  and  tractable 
when  one  man  drives  him  and  attends  upon  him,  but  he  has 
now  and  then  shewn  symptoms  of  dislike  to  others.  He  is 
fed  entirely  on  hay,  except  that,  when  he  works,  a  little  bran 
is  given  to  him,  and  in  the  turnip  season,  he  is  treated  occa- 
sionally with  a  few  slices  of  Swedes,  of  which  he  is  very  fond. 
He  was  at  first  very  troublesome  to  shoe,  and  it  was  neces- 
sary to  erect  a  break  in  order  to  confine  him.  He  was  un- 
willing to  go  into  it  for  some  time,  but  now  walks  in  it  very 
contentedly.  He  is  very  fond  of  being  noticed ;  and  often, 
when  he  is  lying  down,  if  any  one  to  whom  he  is  accustomed 
goes  and  sits  down  upon  him  and  strokes  him  over  the  face, 
he  will  turn  round  and  put  his  head  on  their  lap,  and  lie  there 
contentedly  as  long  as  they  please.  The  cow  is  at  grass  with 
the  milch  cows,  and  comes  up  with  them  morning  and  even- 
ing, when  they  are  driven  to  be  milked." 

But  the  Ox  extends  to  another  division  of  the  globe, 
where  we  may  expect  him  to  exhibit  modifications  dependent 
on  the  peculiar  conditions  under  which  he  is  placed,  and 
which  exert  so  great  an  influence  on  the  development  of 
animal  forms.  But  a  vast  part  of  the  African  continent  is 

260  THE  OX. 

yet  untrodden  by  the  feet  of  naturalists,  and  we  are  left 
to  draw  our  knowledge  of  its  animals  from  the  uncertain 
notices  of  travellers,  often  too  much  occupied  with  the  dan- 
gers around  them,  to  be  able  to  afford  us  the  details  required. 
We  know,  however,  that  the  Ox,  under  various  modifications, 
abounds  throughout  those  vast  countries,  is  everywhere  sub- 
jected to  servitude,  affords  milk  and  flesh  to  the  inhabitants, 
and  assists  them  in  their  rude  labours  ;  but  of  the  species  or 
races,  our  knowledge  is  in  a  high  degree  imperfect.     So  far 
as  we  know,  the  common  Ox  prevails  along  all  the  countries 
on  the  Mediterranean,  and  a  part  of  the  shores  of  the  Atlan- 
tic ;  but  how  much  it  occupies  of  the  interior,  travellers,  the 
most  observant,  have  failed  to  inform  us.     The  same  form 
appears  in  Southern  Africa,  in  the  races  which  are  cultivated 
by  the  Hottentots,  the  Caffres,  and  other  tribes  stretching  to 
the  deserts  of  the  interior.     The  oxen  of  these  races  are  of 
small  size,  like  those  of  the  mountainous  parts  of  Europe, 
and  are  possessed  of  great  activity  and  power  of  endurance. 
But,  in  Africa,  the  Ox  likewise  presents  itself  under  a  dif- 
ferent form,  having  the  large  hump  of  the  Indian  Zebu,  but 
being  distinguished  from  the  latter  animal  by  large,  light, 
and    spreading  horns.      This   race   appears   in   Abyssinia, 
whence  it  extends  down  the  Nile  to  the  tropic  of  Cancer,  and 
perhaps  beyond  it,  westward  through  the  unexplored  regions 
of  the  countries  of  the  Negroes  to  the  Niger,  and  southward 
again  through  40°  of  latitude  to  the  country  of  the  Caffres. 
It  thus  seems  to  extend  over  nearly  all  the  burning  regions 
of  the  continent,  and  it  is  difficult  to  believe  that  an  animal 
so  diffused  is  not  indigenous  to  the  country  which  produces 
it.    It  may  be  conjectured,  indeed,  that  the  African  is  merely 
the  Asiatic  Zebu,  transported  from  the  East  to  Western 
Africa.     Though  we  have  nothing  to  invalidate  this  opinion, 
it  certainly  seems  to  be  a  very  violent  hypothesis;  and  a 
more  natural  supposition  is,  that  an  animal  occupying  all 
the  intertropical  regions  of  Africa,  is  as  proper  to  the  country 
itself  as  the  Zebu  of  India  is  to  the  countries  of  the  East. 

HISTORY.  261 

Unfortunately,  the  accounts  of  travellers  are  not  sufficiently 
precise  to  enable  us  to  compare  the  Indian  with  the  African 
Ox ;  and  it  is  doubtful  if  a  single  specimen  of  the  Humped 
Ox  of  Africa  has  been  brought  to  Europe. 

Bruce,  on  entering  Abyssinia  by  the  mountain  of  Taranto, 
describes  the  bulls  and  cows  as  of  exquisite  beauty,  as  being 
completely  white,  with  large  dewlaps  hanging  down  to  the 
knees,  with  horns  and  hoofs  completely  well  turned,  with 
the  horns  wide,  and  the  hair  like  silk.  In  another  place, 
he  informs  us  that,  in  the  fertile  and  populous  province  of 
Woggora,  the  oxen  have  large  and  beautiful  horns,  exceed- 
ingly wide,  and  that  they  have  bosses  on  their  backs  like 
camels.  Other  writers  agree  as  to  the  great  size  of  the  horns 
of  the  humped  cattle  of  Africa.  Captain  Clapperton  describes 
the  race  of  Bornon,  likewise  humped,  in  the  very  heart  of  the 
continent,  as  being  of  a  white  colour  and  large  size,  and  as 
having  horns,  very  light,  of  three  feet  seven  inches  in  length, 
measured  along  the  curve.  We  cannot  say,  indeed,  that  the 
mere  tendency  to  a  large  development  of  horn  constitutes  a 
specific  distinction  ;  but  as  this  is  a  character  which  remark- 
ably distinguishes  the  humped  cattle  of  Africa  from  those  of 
India,  it  furnishes  a  reasonable  ground  for  believing  that  the 
humped  cattle  of  Africa  have  characters  proper  to  themselves, 
and  are  as  much  an  original  race  as  the  Zebus  of  India. 

The  accumulation  of  fatty  matter  on  the  shoulder  of  the 
Ox,  may  not  unreasonably  be  regarded  as  a  natural  provision 
for  fitting  him  for  countries  of  intense  heat.  The  cultivated 
Ox  of  England  accumulates  fat  largely  within  the  body ;  but 
this  might  not  consist  with  the  exercise  of  the  animal  func- 
tions in  a  climate  of  high  temperature  ;  and,  therefore,  the 
fatty  secretion  may  be  placed  externally  on  a  particular  part 
of  the  body.  In  certain  races  of  sheep  in  Africa  the  same 
tendency  is  observed,  lumps  of  fatty  matter  appearing  be- 
neath the  skin,  on  the  shoulders  and  head,  and  in  other  races, 
as  has  been  shewn  in  another  place,  on  the  tail,  which  be- 
comes of  an  enormous  magnitude.  The  hump  of  the  Camel 

262  THE  OX. 

seems  to  be  a  similar  provision  for  the  accumulation  of  nutri- 
ent matter,  and  may  be  supposed  to  be  connected  with  the 
extraordinary  patience  under  abstinence  from  food,  which 
distinguishes  this  child  of  the  desert.  The  fatty  hump  of  the 
Ox  of  warmer  countries,  may  thus  be  regarded  as  an  adapta- 
tion of  the  animal  to  the  condition  in  which  it  is  placed. 

Another  provision  for  fitting  the  Ox  of  warmer  countries 
to  the  circumstances  of  his  situation,  is  the  possession  of  a 
light,  sinewy,  and  active  form.  The  heavy  Ox  of  the  plains 
of  Holland  and  England,  could  not  subsist  in  the  arid  climate, 
and  on  the  scanty  herbage,  of  the  African  desert.  Hence  we 
find  the  Oxen  of  Africa  of  less  bulk  of  body,  and  more  agile 
in  their  motions,  than  those  in  the  temperate  countries  of 
abundant  herbage.  All  over  Africa,  these  animals  are  em- 
ployed in  laborious  journeys,  and  for  the  bearing  of  heavy 
loads.  Their  appearance  and  employment  in  these  arid  coun- 
tries are  thus  described  by  a  recent  traveller  : 

"  The  bullock  is  the  bearer  of  all  the  grain  and  other 
articles  to  and  from  the  markets.     A  small  saddle  of  plaited 
rushes  is  laid  upon  him,  when  sacks  made  of  goat-skins,  and 
filled  with  corn,  are  lashed  on  his  broad  and  able  back.     A 
leather  thong  is  passed  through  the  cartilage  of  his  nose, 
and  serves  as  a  bridle,  while  on  the  top  of  the  load  is  mount- 
ed the  owner,  his  wife,  or  his  slave.    Sometimes  the  daughter 
or  the  wife  of  a  rich  shouaa  will  be  mounted  on  her  particu- 
lar bullock,  and  precede  the  loaded  animals,  extravagantly 
adorned  with  amber,  silver,  rings,  coral,  and  all  sorts  of 
finery 3  her  hair  streaming  with  fat,  a  black  ring  of  kohol,  at 
least  an  inch  wide,  round  her  eyes,  and,  I  may  say,  arrayed 
for  conquest  at  the  crowded  market.     Carpets  or  tobes  are 
then  spread  on  her  clumsy  palfrey  ;  she  sit&jambe  de$d,jambe 
deld,  and,  with  considerable  grace,  guides  her  animal  by  the 
nose.    Notwithstanding  the  peaceableness  of  his  nature,  her 
vanity  still  enables  her  to  torture  him  into  something  like 
caperings  and  curvettings."* 

*  Travels  in  Africa,  by  Major  Denham  and  Captain  Clapperton. 

HISTORY.  263 

In  the  country  of  the  Cape,  the  value  of  the  agile  form  and 
powers  of  endurance  of  the  African  Ox,  are  shewn  in  the  ser- 
vices he  performs.  These  oxen  are  used  for  carrying  bur- 
dens, in  the  manner  of  mules  and  pack-horses  in  other  coun- 
tries. A  traveller,  describing  this  employment,  observes  : 
"  We  proceeded  nearly  the  whole  way  at  a  brisk  step,  some- 
times trotting,  and  at  other  times  galloping,  while  the  three 
bushmen,  who  drove  the  pack-oxen  on  before  us,  hurried 
them  over  the  rocky  ground  at  so  extraordinary  a  rate,  that, 
even  on  horseback,  I  found  it  not  easy  to  keep  up  with  them  ; 
and  often,  when  the  surface  was  so  thickly  covered  with 
stones  and  large  fragments  of  rock,  that  my  horse  could 
scarcely  find  where  to  place  his  foot,  I  was  obliged  to  call 
out  to  them  to  slacken  their  pace."* 

These  oxen  are  likewise  trained  to  the  saddle.  They  are 
broken  in,  we  are  told,  when  they  are  about  a  year  old.  A 
slit  being  made  in  the  cartilage  between  the  nostrils,  large 
enough  to  admit  the  finger,  a  strong  stick,  stripped  of  its 
bark,  is  passed  through,  and  to  each  end  of  it  is  fixed  a  thong 
of  hide,  of  length  sufficient  to  reach  round  the  neck,  and  serve 
as  reins.  The  saddle  is  formed  of  sheep-skins  with  the  wool 
on,  and  the  stirrups  consist  of  a  thong  across  the  saddle,  with 
loops  for  the  feet.  While  the  animal's  nose  is  still  sore,  he  is 
mounted  and  put  in  training,  and,  in  a  week  or  two,  is  gene- 
rally rendered  sufficiently  obedient  to  the  rider.  "  The  faci- 
lity and  adroitness,"  says  Mr  Burchell,  "  with  which  the  Hot- 
tentots manage  the  Ox,  has  often  excited  my  admiration.  It 
is  made  to  walk,  trot,  or  gallop,  at  the  will  of  its  master ; 
and  being  longer  legged,  and  rather  more  lightly  made  than 
the  Ox  in  England,  travels  with  greater  ease  and  expedition, 
walking  three  or  four  miles  in  an  hour,  trotting  five,  and 
galloping,  on  an  average,  seven  or  eight."  These  oxen  are 
likewise  used  in  the  drawing  of  those  covered  waggons  which 
the  Dutch  settlers  have  introduced,  and  with  which  they 
transport  their  merchandise,  and  perform  their  long  journeys 

*  BurchelPs  Travels  in  Africa. 

264  THE  OX. 

from  the  interior.  These  waggons,  though  now  much  smaller 
than  those  used  by  the  earlier  boors,  are  still  very  weighty 
vehicles,  drawn  by  teams  of  ten  or  twelve  oxen.  They  are 
usually  driven  by  a  Hottentot,  who  manages  his  enormous 
team  with  perfect  skill,  and  without  the  aid  of  reins.  He 
sits  behind,  holding  in  his  hand  a  tremendous  whip  of  plaited 
thong,  the  handle  of  which  is  twelve  or  fourteen  feet  in 
length.  He  uses  it  with  ease,  cracking  it  loudly  over  the 
heads  of  the  animals,  and,  when  necessary,  hitting  an  offend- 
ing bullock :  but  his  chief  instrument  of  guidance  is  the 
voice  :  he  speaks  to  the  animals  by  name,  directing  them  to 
the  right  or  left,  to  stop  or  to  quicken  their  pace,  and  enforc- 
ing his  commands,  when  necessary,  by  the  stroke  of  his  ter- 
rible lash.  When  the  team  is  large,  a  boy,  usually  a  Hot- 
tentot, leads  the  foremost  oxen  by  a  thong  fastened  about 
their  horns. 

But  to  turn  from  the  Oxen  of  distant  countries  to  those 
whose  economical  uses  are  so  important  to  the  civilized  na- 
tions of  Europe,  we  find  that  the  animals,  though  agreeing 
in  certain  common  characters,  yet  very  greatly  differ  in  their 
temperament,  form,  and  uses,  with  the  physical  condition  of 
the  countries  in  which  they  are  reared,  and  the  artificial  treat- 
ment to  which  they  are  subjected.  It  is  upon  the  supplies  of 
food  that  the  size  of  the  animals  seems  mainly  to  depend. 
Wherever  food  is  supplied  in  abundance,  the  Ox  becomes 
enlarged  in  bulk  ;  and  wherever  food  is  deficient,  whatever  be 
the  nature  of  the  climate,  his  size  becomes  less.  The  Ox  of 
Barbary  is  as  diminutive  as  that  of  the  Highlands  of  Scot- 
land, because  the  grasses,  his  natural  food,  are  burned  up 
during  a  great  part  of  the  year,  leaving  plants  for  him  to 
subsist  upon  as  innutritious  as  the  heaths  of  the  northern 
mountains.  But  where  the  grasses  abound,  and  where  the 
heat  of  the  climate  is  not  sufficiently  great  to  wither  them 
up  during  a  great  part  of  the  year,  the  Ox  assumes  an  entirely 
different  character  with  respect  to  magnitude  and  strength. 
The  largest  Oxen  in  Europe  are  to  be  found  extending  west- 

HISTORY.  265 

ward  by  the  Ukraine,  and  the  rich  valley  of  the  Danube, 
through  Hungary,  the  more  fertile  parts  of  Germany,  part  of 
Denmark,  Holland,  and  to  England.  In  the  richer  parts 
of  other  countries  on  either  side  of  this  tract,  as  in  the  Ma- 
remma  of  Italy,  and  the  finer  valleys  of  Switzerland,  and  in 
certain  parts  of  Spain  and  France,  are  also  to  be  found  large 
Oxen,  the  size  of  the  animals  always  being  in  proportion  to 
the  natural  fertility  of  the  pastures.  Art,  indeed,  by  sup- 
plying cultivated  food,  can  remedy  the  effects^  of  natural 
scarcity ;  but,  in  a  general  sense,  we  find  that  always  the 
larger  breeds  are  formed  in  countries  of  abundant  herbage. 

The  British  Islands  present,  in  the  productiveness  of  the 
soil,  such  extremes  of  fertility  and  barrenness,  as  enable  us 
to  mark  the  constancy  of  this  law  in  a  greater  degree  perhaps 
than  in  any  other  country  of  the  same  extent.  Over  the  more 
elevated  parts  of  the  country,  where  the  heaths,  carices,  and 
innutritious  junci,  form  the  principal  part  of  the  herbage,  the 
Oxen  are  of  small  stature  :  as  the  grasses  and  leguminous 
herbage  plants  become  mixed  with  the  others,  the  size  of  the 
Oxen  becomes  enlarged,  and  still  more  when  artificial  food  is 
added  to  the  natural ;  and  in  the  richest  plains  of  all,  where 
the  natural  productions  of  the  soil,  and  the  resources  of  con- 
tinued cultivation,  are  combined,  the  animals  acquire  their 
greatest  development  of  form.  The  Ox  of  the  Sutherland 
mountains,  and  the  Ox  of  the  Yorkshire  vales,  present  to  the 
eye  a  diversity  of  size  and  aspect,  such  as  we  might  hold  in 
other  cases  to  distinguish  species;  but  these  extremes  are  con- 
nected by  all  the  intervening  gradations  from  the  smallest  to 
the  largest.  Looking  to  bulk  of  body  as  a  character,  we  may  be 
said  to  possess  two  general  classes  of  breeds  in  this  country  ; 
first,  those  which  are  proper  to  the  more  mountainous  and  less 
fertile  districts  ;  and,  secondly,  those  which  are  proper  to 
the  plains  and  richer  country.  The  first  class  comprehends 
the  breeds  of  Wales,  of  the  mountains  of  Scotland,  and  of  the 
high  lands  of  Ireland,  as  the  Pembroke,  the  West  Highland, 
the  Kerry  ;  the  second  comprehends  the  Long-horned  breed 

266  THE  OX. 

and  its  varieties,  the  highly  cultivated  breed  of  Short-horns, 
and  the  Hereford :  and,  again,  there  is  a  class  of  breeds  in- 
termediate between  the  smaller  breeds  of  the  mountains  and 
the  larger  races  of  the  plains,  as  the  Galloway,  the  Angus, 
and  the  beautiful  breed  of  Nouth  Devon. 

But,  besides  the  effects  of  the  natural  and  acquired  fertility 
of  districts  in  modifying  the  form  and  characters  of  these 
animals,  so  as  to  form  varieties,  art  and  a  fitting  selection  of 
the  breeding  parents  exercise  an  influence  scarcely  less  im- 
portant. Experience  shews  that  the  characters  of  the  Ox,  as 
of  all  animals  subjected  to  domestication,  are  communicated 
with  surprising  constancy  to  the  young,  and  become  perma- 
nent by  reproduction  between  similar  individuals.  Not  only 
are  the  properties  of  form  so  transmitted,  but  those  pecu- 
liarities of  temperament  which  render  the  animals  fitted  to 
particular  uses,  as  for  the  exertion  of  strength  in  the  yoke, 
for  the  secretion  of  fat,  or  the  production  of  milk.  Besides, 
then,  the  characters  of  breeds  which  are  the  result  of  natural 
causes,  there  is  a  class  of  characters  the  result  of  breeding 
and  artificial  treatment.  Some  of  the  finest  of  the  breeds  of 
England  may  be  termed  artificial,  with  relation  to  the  means 
employed  to  give  them  their  distinctive  characters  :  such  was 
the  variety  of  the  Long-horned  breed  formed  by  Bakewell, 
such  is  the  modern  Durham  improved  by  Colling,  and  such  is 
the  highly  esteemed  breed  of  Hereford,  perfected  by  Tomkins. 
These  breeds,  the  finest  in  the  world  with  respect  to  their 
economical  uses,  although  bearing  an  affinity  to  the  parent 
stocks  from  which  they  were  derived,  have  had  those  peculiar 
properties  which  fit  them  for  the  uses  for  which  they  are  de- 
signed mainly  communicated  by  the  art  of  the  breeder. 

Of  the  properties  which  artificial  breeding  is  employed  to 
call  forth,  that  which  holds  the  first  place  in  this  country  is, 
an  early  maturity  of  the  animal,  and  a  tendency  to  the  secre- 
tion of  fat.  But  the  production  of  milk  is  likewise  important, 
and  particular  breeds  are  valued  for  the  faculty  of  yielding 
this  substance  in  abundance.  Before  describing  the  various 

THE  DAIRY.  267 

breeds  of  the  country  in  detail,  it  will  be  well  to  direct  at- 
tention to  the  subject  of  Milk  and  its  products,  as  connected 
with  the  economical  value  of  breeds,  and,  in  certain  cases, 
serving  to  distinguish  them. 


MILK  is  the  liquid  food  derived  from  the  blood  of  mam- 
miferous  animals  for  the  nourishment  of  their  young.  It  is 
secreted  in  glandular  sacs  termed  mammae,  the  number  and 
disposition  of  which  vary  in  different  tribes  of  animals.  Some- 
times they  consist  of  a  single  pair,  as  in  the  female  of  the 
Horse,  the  Sheep,  the  Goat ;  sometimes  of  more  than  one 
pair  connected  together,  as  in  the  Cow ;  and  sometimes  of 
several  pairs,  extending  along  the  lower  part  of  the  abdomen, 
as  in  the  Hog,  the  Dog,  the  Cat.  These  organs  are  filled 
with  innumerable  glandular  lobes,  from  the  size  of  a  millet- 
seed  upwards,  through  which  the  blood,  circulating  in  myriads 
of  vessels  finer  than  the  finest  hair,  gives  off  the  milky  secre- 
tion. From  these  lobes  proceed  little  ducts  or  tubes,  which, 
gradually  uniting,  form  larger  ducts,  and  then  reservoirs  or 
sinuses,  which  communicate  with  the  papillae  or  nipples.  The 
milk  is  secreted  at  the  birth  of  the  young,  and  continues  to 
be  supplied  for  a  longer  or  shorter  period,  according  to  its 
wants.  It  differs  somewhat  in  its  composition  in  different 
species  ;  but  in  all  of  them  it  is  a  whitish  liquid,  opaque,  and 
of  a  slightly  saccharine  taste.  It  consists  essentially  of  wa- 
ter, holding  in  solution  and  suspension  various  substances, 
some  of  which  can  be  readily  separated  from  the  rest.  Of 
these  the  principal  are,  1.  An  oily  substance,  which,  from  its 
less  density,  rises  to  the  surface,  and,  being  agitated,  forms 
butter ;  2.  An  albuminous  matter,  which,  by  the  action  of 
certain  substances,  coagulates,  and  forms  curd  or  cheese ; 
and,  3.  A  species  of  sugar,  which  can  likewise  be  obtained 
separately  from  the  other  constituents. 

268  THE  OX. 

Man,  deriving  his  first  nourishment  from  the  breast  of  his 
parent,  must,  in  every  age,  have  been  taught  by  his  reason 
to  apply  to  his  uses  the  milk  of  his  flocks  and  herds.  From 
the  earliest  times,  accordingly,  we  read  of  the  milk  of  Goats, 
and  Sheep,  and  Kine,  as  being  the  food  of  our  species,  either 
in  its  natural  state,  or  separated  into  those  bland  and  nutri- 
tive substances  which,  by  the  easiest  arts,  can  be  derived 
from  it.  When  Abraham  sat  at  the  opening  of  his  tent,  in 
the  heat  of  the  day,  in  the  plains  of  Mamre,  "  He  lift  up  his 
eyes,  and  looked,  and,  lo,  three  men  stood  by  him  :  and,  when 
he  saw  them,  he  ran  to  meet  them  from  the  tent-door,  and 
bowed  himself  toward  the  ground,  and  said,  My  Lord,  if  now 
I  have  found  favour  in  thy  sight,  pass  not  away,  I  pray  thee, 
from  thy  servant.  Let  a  little  water,  I  pray  you,  be  fetched, 
and  wash  your  feet,  and  rest  yourselves  under  the  tree  :  and 
I  will  fetch  a  morsel  of  bread,  and  comfort  ye  your  hearts ; 
after  that  ye  shall  pass  on  ;  for  therefore  are  ye  come  to  your 
servant.  And  they  said,  So  do  as  thou  hast  said.  And 
Abraham  hastened  into  the  tent  unto  Sarah,  and  said,  Make 
ready  quickly  three  measures  of  fine  meal,  knead  it,  and  make 
cakes  upon  the  hearth.  And  Abraham  ran  unto  the  herd, 
and  fetched  a  calf,  tender  and  good,  and  gave  it  unto  a  young 
man ;  and  he  hasted  to  dress  it.  And  he  took  Butter  and 
Milk,  and  the  calf  which  he  had  dressed,  and  set  it  before 
them ;  and  he  stood  by  them  under  the  tree,  and  they  did 
eat."  The  scene,  apart  from  the  mission  of  the  heavenly 
guests,  might  represent  the  hospitality  of  the  wandering 
Syrians  at  the  present  hour :  and  all  over  the  East,  from 
Aleppo  to  the  Ganges,  the  milk  of  flocks  and  herds  supplies 
to  the  inhabitants  a  mild  and  grateful  food. 

The  earliest  writers  of  Greece  and  Rome  speak  of  cheese 
and  milk  as  a  food  familiar  to  every  one.  In  the  fatal  cave 
of  the  Cyclops,  Ulysses  finds  the  milk  of  Goats  and  Sheep 
stored  in  baskets  of  osier,  the  shelves  bending  under  loads 
of  cheeses ;  and  innumerable  other  allusions  to  this  early 
food  of  mankind  are  scattered  through  the  writings  of  the 

THE  DAIRY.  269 

poets,  philosophers,  and  historians  of  Greece.  But  the  Greeks, 
living  in  the  country  of  the  olive,  made  no  use  of  butter, 
and  became  only  acquainted  with  it  from  those  whom,  in  the 
arrogance  of  their  hearts,  they  chose  to  style  barbarians. 
Aristotle  says  of  milk,  that  it  consists  of  two  parts,  the 
cheesy  and  the  watery ;  and  it  is  only  in  another  place  that 
he  refers,  incidentally  as  it  were,  to  the  oily  matter  which 
rises  to  the  surface.  Hippocrates,  who  wrote  in  the  fifth 
century  before  Christ,  speaking  of  the  Scythians,  says,  that 
they  poured  the  milk  of  their  mares  into  wooden  vessels, 
and  agitated  it  violently,  which  caused  the  fat  part,  which 
was  light,  to  rise  to  the  surface,  becoming  what  they  call 
butter;  and  Herodotus,  who  was  contemporary  with  him, 
mentions,  that  they  placed  the  milk  in  deep  wooden  vessels, 
and  caused  it  to  be  agitated  by  their  slaves.  Both  writers 
manifestly  speak  of  something  which  was  new  to  their  own 
customs  ;  and,  for  many  centuries  afterwards,  we  know  that 
the  Greeks  made  use  of  cheese  and  oil,  but  not  of  butter. 
Dioscorides,  who  wrote  thirty-one  years  before  Christ,  seems 
to  have  been  the  first  of  the  Greeks  who  suggested  to  his 
countrymen  that  this  food  of  the  barbarians  might  be  used 
for  diet.  He  says,  that  it  might  be  melted,  and  poured 
over  pulse  and  other  vegetables,  instead  of  oil ;  but  ages 
elapsed  before  the  Greeks  adopted  the  customs,  in  this  re- 
spect, of  the  nations  they  despised. 

The  Romans,  in  like  manner,  although  they  made  large 
use  of  cheese,  were  ignorant  of  the  use  of  butter,  until  they 
had  extended  their  conquests  among  the  Gauls,  Germans, 
and  Britons ;  and  it  was  not  until  the  age  of  the  empire, 
that  they  began  to  make  use  of  it  as  an  ointment  in  their 
baths,  and  ultimately  as  food.  They  lived  in  the  land  of  the 
olive  and  the  vine  ;  and  their  rustic  writers,  while  they  treat 
largely  of  milk,  cheese,  and  oil,  say  nothing  of  the  prepara- 
tion of  butter.  On  the  other  hand,  we  learn,  from  many  of 
their  writers,  that  it  was  familiar  to  the  Gothic  and  Celtic 
nations  of  Northern  Europe.  Pliny  affirms  that  the  barbar- 

270  THE  ox. 

ous  nations  made  not  only  cheese  but  butter,  which  they 
used  as  an  agreeable  food.  He  says,  that  they  made  it  from 
the  milk  of  the  Goat,  the  Sheep,  and  the  Cow ;  but  most 
commonly  from  that  of  the  Cow,  although  the  milk  of  the 
Ewe  produced  the  fattest  butter.  He  describes  the  form  of 
the  vessel  employed  in  making  it,  which  seems  to  have  been 
similar  to  that  now  in  use.  The  northern  nations  were  like- 
wise acquainted  with  the  use  of  cheese,  although  some  of  the 
Roman  writers  declare  that  they  knew  not  how  to  prepare 
it,  which  can  only  mean,  that  they  did  not  do  so  after  the 
Roman  fashion ;  for  Pliny  himself,  who  denies  this  know- 
ledge to  the  Germans,  describes  their  manner  of  making 
cheese,  by  rendering  the  milk  sour,  and  pressing  the  whey 
from  the  curd.  Caesar  says  of  the  same  people,  that  the 
greater  part  of  their  food  consisted  of  milk,  cheese,  and  flesh. 
Strabo  confirms  the  testimony  of  Caesar ;  and  Tacitus  states 
that  the  food  of  the  Germans  was  of  the  simplest  kind, 
namely,  wild  fruits,  game  recently  killed,  or  concrete  milk, 
which  must  mean  milk  rendered  concrete  by  curdling  it.  Of 
the  Britons,  Caesar  observes,  that  those  of  the  interior,  for 
the  most  part,  did  not  sow  corn,  but  lived  on  milk  and  flesh. 
And  Strabo  states,  that  some  of  them,  though  they  had  abun- 
dance of  milk,  were  so  ignorant  as  not  to  know  how  to  make 
cheese.  But  if  some  of  them  only  were  thus  ignorant,  the 
rest  must  have  possessed  the  knowledge ;  and  we  learn, 
from  other  sources,  that  the  Celtse  of  the  wilds  of  Britain, 
where  the  Roman  arms  never  reached,  were  familiar  with 
this  early  food  of  the  people  of  the  East.  They  had  learned 
to  prepare  it,  it  may  be  believed,  before  Romulus  drew  milk 
from  the  teats  of  his  Wolf,  or  before  the  city  of  the  Seven 
Hills  had  a  name, 

All  the  ruminating  animals  subjected  to  domestication  are 
capable  of  yielding  milk  to  their  protectors ;  and  all  the  mem- 
bers of  the  great  Western,  and  even  the  Negro,  family  of  man- 
kind, make  use  of  it  as  food.  It  is  obtained  from  the  domestic 
Cow,  the  Asiatic  and  African  Zebu,  the  Buffalo,  the  Yak,  the 

THE  DAIRY.  271 

Camel,  the  Goat,  the  Sheep,  the  Rein-deer.  It  is  yielded 
likewise  by  the  Mare  and  the  Ass.  The  milk  of  the  rumi- 
nating tribes  is  the  richest  in  cream  and  cheese,  «and  that  of 
the  Equine  family  is  the  most  abundant  in  saccharine  prin- 
ciples, and  approaches  nearest  to  that  of  the  human  species. 
The  milk  of  Mares  is  used  by  the  Kalmuks  and  other  East- 
ern Asiatics.  The  Chinese,  who  are  of  the  same  family  of 
mankind,  make  scarcely  any  use  of  milk  as  food  ;  and  the  Red 
Men  of  America,  who  are  the  nearest  connected  by  their  phy- 
siological characters  with  the  Eastern  Asiatics,  manifest  the 
like  indifference  to  it ;  and,  until  the  present  hour,  have  not 
learned  to  tame  the  milk-bearing  animals  of  their  country,  the 
Rein -deer  and  the  Musk  Ox  of  their  regions  of  snow,  and 
the  Bisons  of  their  rich  savannahs  and  boundless  forests. 
Passing  from  Eastern  Asia  into  its  innumerable  islands,  we 
find  that  milk  is  scarcely  at  all  used  by  the  inhabitants.  To 
the  savage  tribes  of  Borneo,  New  Guinea,  and  New  Holland, 
this  salutary  food  is  unknown. 

Of  all  the  ruminating  animals,  the  Cow  is  that  which 
yields  her  milk  the  most  freely,  and  in  the  largest  quantity. 
This  animal  possesses  two  pairs  of  mammse  united  together, 
forming  a  large  udder,  whereas  the  Sheep,  the  Goat,  and  the 
Deer,  possess  only  one  pair.  She  gives  her  milk  beyond  the 
period  of  maternal  solicitude,  and  in  quantity  far  more  than 
suffices  to  nourish  her  own  offspring.  Her  milk  holds  a 
middle  place  between  that  of  the  Ovine  family  and  the  Equine, 
with  respect  to  the  production  of  cheese,  butter,  and  sugar, 
and  it  is  more  agreeable  to  the  taste  than  any  other.  The 
milk  of  the  Buffalo  is  more  watery  than  that  of  the  Cow, 
and  the  cream  and  butter  are  colourless.  The  milk  of  the 
Yak  is  rich,  but,  like  that  of  the  other  Bisons,  has  the  odour 
of  musk. 

The  Camel,  inhabiting  the  vast  deserts  of  Asia,  and  ex- 
tending over  a  part  of  Africa,  yields  milk  which  may  be  used 
as  food.  There  are  two  species,  the  Bactrian  Camel,  having 
two  large  protuberances  on  the  back,  being  adapted  for  the 

272  THE  ox. 

colder  deserts,  and  extending  from  the  Caspian  Sea  eastward 
through  Central  Asia  to  the  Indian  Ocean ;  and  the  Arabian 
Camel,  having  one  protuberance  only,  and  being  fitted  for 
warmer  climates  and  more  steril  deserts.  The  female  of  the 
former  species  is  little  used  for  yielding  milk,  because,  in 
the  countries  which  she  inhabits,  other  animals  better  suited 
to  that  end  are  found.  Nevertheless,  her  milk  is  sometimes 
used  by  the  Eastern  nations  to  produce,  by  fermentation,  an 
inebriating  liquor.  The  other  species  of  Camel  is  the  trea- 
sure of  the  wandering  Arabs,  and  has  so  long  been  subjected 
to  domestication,  that  not  a  trace  of  it  has  been  found  in  the 
wild  state.  The  conformation  and  habits  of  this  animal  are 
suited  to  its  condition.  Its  broad  cleft  hoof,  covered  with  a 
callous  skin,  does  not  sink  in  the  sand,  and  suits  itself 
readily  to  the  sharp  stones  and  pebbles  with  which  the  sur- 
face may  be  covered.  It  bears  thirst  and  hunger  better  than 
any  known  creature :  it  feeds  on  the  withered  herbage,  the 
thorny  shrubs,  and  bitter  plants  of  the  desert,  and  can  take 
into  its  stomach  a  supply  of  food  for  the  wants  of  a  long 
journey.  In  its  stomach  is  developed  a  series  of  deep  cells 
for  containing  water ;  and  when  the  Arabs,  on  their  distant 
journeys,  and  in  danger  of  perishing  from  thirst,  are  com- 
pelled to  kill  their  faithful  Camel,  its  store  of  water  is  pro- 
cured as  pure  and  wholesome  as  from  a  fountain.  The  milk 
of  the  female  is  made  use  of  by  the  people  as  food ;  it  is 
serous,  and  nauseous  in  taste  to  the  stranger,  but  to  the 
Arab  it  proves  a  resource  beyond  all  price  in  the  burning 
wilds  which  he  inhabits. 

The  Goat,  we  have  seen,  is  spread  over  all  the  old  conti- 
nent, and  many  of  its  islands.  The  female  yields  milk  in 
considerable  abundance,  and  nearly  as  freely  as  the  Cow  her- 
self;  and  she  readily  submits  to  be  the  fosternurse  of  other 
animals,  and  treats  her  adopted  offspring  with  affection.  Her 
milk  is  thick,  more  abounding  in  cheese  than  that  of  the 
Cow,  and  plentiful  in  cream.  It  has  a  peculiar  taste  and 
odour,  to  which  use  reconciles  those  who  feed  on  it,  and  it  is 

THE  DAIRY.  273 

eminently  nourishing  and  salubrious.  The  butter  which  it 
yields  is  of  a  firm  consistence,  and  nearly  as  white  as  snow. 
The  cheese  has  a  strong  and  peculiar  flavour,  not  ungrateful 
to  those  who  are  accustomed  to  it.  It  is  produced  in  all  the 
parts  of  Europe  where  the  Goat  is  reared,  and  largely  in  the 
Levant,  Italy,  Spain,  and  other  countries  of  the  Mediter- 

The  Ewe  yields  milk,  but  not  so  abundantly,  freely,  or  for 
so  long  a  period,  as  the  Goat.  It  is  the  most  productive  of 
cream  of  any  kind  of  milk  ;  but  the  butter  which  it  yields  is 
of  a  soft  consistence,  leaving  a  fatty  impression,  like  tallow, 
in  the  mouth.  The  cheese  has  a  strong  stimulating  flavour, 
which  increases  with  age.  It  is  largely  produced  in  some  of 
the  more  mountainous  parts  of  Europe,  furnishing  a  food 
grateful  to  the  people  of  the  countries  that  produce  it,  but 
far  inferior  in  general  estimation  to  the  cheese  of  the  Cow. 

At  the  limits,  and  beyond  them,  of  the  region  of  the 
Goat  and  the  Sheep,  exists  a  creature,  fitted  by  a  boun- 
teous Providence  to  subsist  on  the  herbs  of  the  arctic  zone, 
and  yield  its  milk  for  human  support,  in  lands  of  ice  and  snow. 
The  Reindeer  inhabits  the  glacial  regions  of  Europe  and 
Asia,  migrating  along  the  snowy  mountains  of  the  interior, 
almost  to  the  line  of  the  Caucasus.  In  America,  too,  it  i? 
found,  but  with  characters  proper  to  that  continent;  and 
there  it  is  the  subject  of  persecution  by  savage  hunters,  who 
seem  incapable  of  rising  even  to  the  pastoral  state.  But,  in 
Europe,  the  Reindeer  has  been  reduced  to  servitude  by  a 
race  of  men  seemingly  placed  beyond  the  limits  of  humanized 
society,  but  possessed  of  arts  which  tribes  of  barbarous  hun- 
ters do  not  acquire.  The  Laplanders,  in  scanty  numbers, 
are  spread  over  the  extreme  north  of  Europe,  occupying  a 
country  of  300  miles  by  500  on  the  Arctic  Ocean.  Distinct 
in  aspect,  character,  and  speech,  from  the  Scandinavian 
people  in  contact  with  them, — their  swarthy  colour,  their 
dark  eyes,  and  black  hair,  indicate  a  southern  origin ;  and 
their  simple  and  expressive  language  exhibits  a  striking 

274  THE  ox. 

affinity  with  those  of  the  countries  of  the  East.  They  are  a 
remnant,  it  may  be  believed,  of  ancient  settlers  in  Europe, 
driven  by  stronger  enemies  into  regions  of  almost  perpetual 
winter.  They  have  tamed  the  Wild  Deer  of  their  country, 
and  rendered  it  a  substitute  for  the  Sheep,  the  Ox,  nay,  for 
the  Horse,  of  happier  climes.  They  derive  from  it  milk,  and 
know  how  to  fabricate  butter  and  cheese.  They  separate 
the  butter  by  agitating  the  milk  with  their  hands,  and  em- 
ploy herbs  to  coagulate  the  curd.  They  prepare,  from  the 
milk,  many  simple  delicacies,  which  they  use  with  the  wild 
fruits  of  their  brief  summer.  In  the  season  of  their  dreary 
winter,  the  milk  of  the  Doe  freezes  as  soon  as  it  is  drawn 
from  the  teats,  and  in  this  state  it  is  preserved,  to  be  thawed 
when  required  for  use.  The  Doe  yields  about  the  same 
quantity  of  milk  as  the  Goat,  and  it  is  rich  in  caseous  matter. 
Some  of  the  wealthier  Laplanders  have  as  many  as  a  thou- 
sand head  of  those  fleet  and  powerful  Deers  :  the  less  affluent 
have  herds  of  300  or  less. 

The  milk  of  the  Mare  is  used  "only  in  those  boundless 
plains  of  Central  Asia,  where  the  Horse  can  be  reared  in 
numerous  herds.  It  contains  a  larger  proportion  of  sugar 
than  that  of  the  ruminating  quadrupeds,  but  less  of  caseine, 
or  the  matter  of  cheese,  and  oil.  It  yields  curd,  but  the 
cream  is  in  small  quantity.  From  the  abundance  of  the 
saccharine  principle,  it  readily  undergoes  the  vinous  fermen- 
tation, and  the  wandering  tribes  have  long  learned  to  con- 
vert it  into  a  fermented  liquor,  which  they  use  in  excess. 
They  have  even  attained  the  art  of  separating  the  alcohol  by 
distillation,  long,  it  is  probable,  before  the  alchymists  of  the 
West  had  discovered  the  Aqua  Vitas  which  they  fancied  was 
to  confer  upon  them  immortality.  The  Western  Tartars 
still  use  the  milk  of  their  mares  ;  but,  from  the  diminished 
number  of  Horses,  in  less  quantity  than  in  former  ages  ;  for 
these  tribes,  now  controlled  by  the  powerful  sway  of  a  vigo- 
rous government,  have  become  less  predatory,  and  cultivate 
the  ruminating  animals  more  than  the  Horse.  But  the  Kal- 

THE  DAIRY.  275 

muks,  and  other  Eastern  Asiatics,  still  make  considerable 
use  of  the  milk  of  their  numerous  Mares. 

The  milk  of  the  Ass  possesses  nearly  the  same  properties 
as  that  of  the  Mare,  but  it  contains  still  less  of  oil  and 
the  matter  of  cheese.  It  has  been  used  from  early  times  as 
a  medicament.  It  is  sweet  and  wholesome,  and,  from  the 
small  quantity  of  oil  which  it  contains,  it  is  the  most  easily 
assimilated  by  the  digestive  organs  of  any  kind  of  milk.  The 
butter  which  may  be  obtained  from  it  by  long  agitation,  is 
soft  and  insipid,  and  possesses  the  property  of  mixing  again 
with  the  whey. 

Milk,  like  all  the  secretions  of  the  animal  body,  is  a  very 
compound  substance.  It  consists  of  about  90  per  cent,  of 
water,  holding  in  solution  and  suspension  the  substances 
which  enter  into  its  composition.  These  are,  1st,  The  matter 
of  butter,  diffused  in  myriads  of  globules  throughout  the 
fluid ;  2d,  Caseine,  or  the  matter  of  cheese,  which  is  held 
partly  in  solution,  and  partly  in  suspension  ;  3d,  Lactine,-or 
the  sugar  of  milk ;  kth,  An  animal  extract,  like  that  yielded 
by  flesh,  various  soluble  salts,  and,  in  some  cases,  a  quantity 
of  free  acid. 

When  milk  is  suffered  to  remain  at  rest,  it  separates 
slowly  into  two  parts.  The  lighter  globules  of  oil  rise  to 
the  surface,  carrying  with  them  a  portion  of  the  caseous 
matter  and  serum,  and  forming  the  unctuous  coat  termed 
cream.  The  rising  of  the  cream  is  favoured  by  employing 
shallow  vessels,  and  the  separation  continues  for  twenty-four 
hours  or  more,  according  to  the  kind  of  milk,  and  the  tem- 
perature of  the  air.  The  entire  oil  does  not  separate,  but  a 
portion  of  it  remains  suspended  in  the  liquid.  When  the 
cream  is  removed,  the  remaining  liquid  is  still  opaque,  is  of 
a  bluish-white  colour,  and  has  had  its  density  increased  by 
the  removal  of  the  lighter  globules.  This  substance,  in  com- 
mon language  termed  Skimmilk,  is  perfectly  nutritive,  con- 
taining nearly  all  the  caseous  and  saccharine  principles,  with 
a  certain  portion  of  the  butyraceous. 

276  THE  ox. 

When  cream  is  agitated  for  a  time,  or  when  the  entire 
milk,  without  separation  of  the  cream,  is  agitated,  the  buty- 
raceous  globules  collect  and  adhere  together,  forming  a  soft 
solid,  which  is  Butter,  and  which  floats  in  the  liquid.  The 
separation  of  the  butter,  which  takes  place  suddenly,  is  per- 
formed by  the  familiar  process  of  churning,  and  in  certain 
countries  by  agitating  the  milk  in  bags  of  hide  or  leather. 
What  remains  after  the  separation  of  the  butter  is  termed 
Buttermilk.  Buttermilk  is  therefore  merely  milk  deprived 
of  its  butter,  and  still  contains  the  caseous  and  other  con- 

Butter  thus  obtained  has  the  properties  of  an  expressed 
oil,  and  fuses  at  about  the  temperature  of  the  human  body. 
It  is  a  very  compound  substance,  being  resolvable  into  various 
animal  fats  and  acids  ;  and,  further,  it  is  not  obtained  pure 
by  the  mechanical  means  employed  to  separate  it,  but  retains 
a  portion  of  caseine,  serum,  and  the  soluble  matter  of  the 
milk.  When  exposed  to  the  air,  it  speedily  undergoes  a 
change,  and  becomes  rancid.  To  preserve  it  from  decompo- 
sition, it  is  mixed  withv  salt  and  other  substances.  The 
people  of  the  warmer  countries  of  the  East  subject  it  to 
fusion,  by  which  means  the  extraneous  matters  are  sepa- 
rated. It  is  then  termed  Ghee,  in  which  state  it  is  used  by 
the  Hindoos  and  other  Asiatics.  The  Arabs  consume  it  in 
enormous  quantities.  Burckhardt  informs  us,  that  it  is  a 
common  practice  among  all  classes  to  drink  every  morning 
a  coffee-cupful  of  ghee.  The  taste  for  it  is  universal,  and 
the  poorest  persons  will  expend  half  their  daily  income,  in 
order  that  they  may  enjoy  their  melted  butter  in  the  morn- 
ing and  at  noon.  Large  quantities  of  this  substance,  accord- 
ingly, are  yearly  shipped  for  Arabia  from  Abyssinia  and 

The  butter  of  milk,  it  has  been  seen,  is  separated  by 
means  purely  mechanical ;  the  caseous  or  cheesy  portion  is 
obtained  by  causing  the  albuminous  matter  of  the  milk  to  co- 
here or  coagulate.  When  milk,  with  or  without  separation 

THE  DAIRY.  277 

of  its  cream,  is  kept  for  a  time,  the  caseous  matter  diffused 
through  it,  or  dissolved  in  it,  coagulates  and  forms  curd. 
This  coagulum  envelopes  the  parts  which  still  remain  liquid, 
and  renders  the  whole  of  a  gelatinous  consistence.  By 
pressure,  and  breaking  the  coagulum,  the  greater  part  of  the 
liquid  readily  separates,  and  the  curd,  being  compressed, 
forms  cheese.  But  the  process  of  coagulation  may  be  has- 
tened by  the  mixture  of  various  substances.  All  the  acids 
possess  the  property  of  coagulating  milk,  even  at  common 
temperatures,  and  more  readily  when  assisted  by  heat.  Even 
alcohol,  gum,  sugar,  and  soluble  neutral  salts,  produce  the 
formation  of  curd.  Certain  vegetable  principles,  as  tannin, 
and  the  juices  of  numerous  plants,  likewise  coagulate  milk, 
as  an  infusion  of  the  stems  or  leaves  of  sorrel,  of  butterwort, 
of  ladies'  bedstraw,  of  the  flowers  of  the  artichoke,  and  of 
the  roots  of  the  marsh-marigold.  But  the  substance  the 
most  approved  of  for  producing  coagulation  is  runnet,  whic 
is  prepared  by  macerating  the  stomach  of  a  sucking  animal 
in  water,  so  as  to  extract  the  gastric  juice,  of  which  a  very 
minute  quantity,  contained  in  the  infusion,  suffices  to  coagu- 
late a  large  quantity  of  milk.  As  acids  promote  the  coagu- 
lation of  milk,  so  the  alkalies  prevent  it,  by  rendering  the 
caseous  matter  soluble.  When,  therefore,  soda,  potassa,  or 
ammonia,  exists  in  milk,  coagulation  will  not  take  place 
until  the  alkalies  are  neutralized  by  the  addition  of  acids,  or 
by  their  spontaneous  formation  in  the  milk. 

After  the  curd  has  been  formed,  either  by  the  slow  forma- 
tion of  acids  in  the  milk,  or  by  the  addition  of  coagulating 
media,  the  curd  is  broken,  and  the  liquid  which  it  envelopes 
is  separated  by  pressure.  The  expressed  liquid  is  Whey ; 
and  whey,  therefore,  is  merely  milk  deprived  of  its  cheesy 
matter.  Whey  accordingly  contains  butter,  in  so  far  as  the 
cream  has  not  been  separated,  and  butter,  therefore,  may  be 
derived  from  whey.  It  contains  likewise  the  sugar  of  milk, 
which  may  be  obtained  separately,  in  the  crystalline  form, 
by  evaporation  ;  and,  in  certain  parts  of  Europe,  the  sugar 

278  THE  ox. 

of  milk  is  prepared  on  the  large  scale,  and  forms  the  subject 
of  commerce.  Whey  is  sometimes  used  as  human  food,  but 
more  generally  for  feeding  the  animals  of  the  farm.  It 
quickly  becomes  acid,  and  yields  vinegar  ;  it  passes  likewise 
through  the  vinous  fermentation,  in  which  state  it  has  an  in- 
toxicating effect. 

Cheese,  as  formed  by  the  common  methods,  is  a  mixture  of 
the  caseous  with  the  oily  matter  of  milk,  to  which  it  owes  its 
richness.  When  the  cream,  therefore,  is  separated  from  the 
milk  before  coagulation,  the  cheese  contains  less  of  oil,  and 
is  of  inferior  estimation.  When  newly  made,  cheese  is  soft, 
gelatinous,  and  mild,  but  after  a  time  it  undergoes  a  chemi- 
cal change,  and  becomes  strong- seen  ted  and  stimulating.  It 
produces  certain  fungi,  termed  mould,  and  becomes  the  abode 
of  innumerable  larvae,  derived  from  the  eggs  of  two  insects, 
the  one  a  species  of  bug,  the  other  a  kind  of  fiy.  It  is  when 
in  a  state  of  decomposition,  and  inhabited  by  these  disgust- 
ing creatures,  that  it  is  the  most  valued  as  a  stimulant  to 
the  appetite. 

Milk  then,  it  is  seen,  may  be  separated  by  easy  means  into 
four  parts  :  1st,  into  Butter,  which  is  obtained  by  simple 
agitation,  either  of  the  entire  milk,  or  of  the  cream  separated 
from  the  milk ;  2d,  into  Buttermilk,  which  is  obtained  by 
separating  the  butter ;  3d,  into  Cheese,  which  is  produced  by 
coagulation  either  of  the  whole  milk,  or  of  the  milk  after  se- 
paration of  the  cream  ;  and,  4M,  into  the  liquid  residue,  or 
Whey.  The  means  of  obtaining  these  several  products  are 
so  easy,  that  it  is  not  surprising  that  they  should  have  been 
known  from  the  earliest  times,  and  practised  by  the  rudest 
people.  In  the  more  advanced  stages  of  rural  economy,  the 
art  of  the  dairy  is  reduced  to  principles,  and  merits  the  highest 
attention  as  a  branch  of  public  industry  and  domestic  economy. 

The  Cow  goes  with  young  about  nine  months,  but  with 
great  inequality  of  time  beyond  this  period,  dependent  on 
temperament,  food,  and  treatment.  The  lacteal  secretion  is 
observed  previous  to  the  birth,  but  only  takes  place  in  quan- 

THE  DAIRY.  279 

tity  when  the  young  is  born,  though  in  a  few  rare  instances, 
heifers,  without  contact  with  the  male,  have  been  known  to 
produce  milk ;  arid  the  same  curious  anomaly  has  been  ob- 
served in  the  case  of  young  mares.  For  a  few  days  after  the 
birth,  the  milk,  then  termed  Colostrum,  is  viscid,  and  of  a 
deep  yellow  colour,  and  tends  more  readily  than  other  milk 
to  undergo  decomposition,  and  yields  butter  with  difficulty. 
The  colostrum  should  not,  therefore,  be  mixed  with  the  other 
milk  of  the  dairy,  but  be  given  to  the  new-born  calf.  The 
milk,  in  a  few  days  after  the  birth,  assumes  its  usual  proper- 
ties, and  for  about  ninety  days  is  yielded  abundantly,  and 
with  an  increase  of  richness  in  cream.  The  produce  after  a 
time  continues  to  diminish,  and  in  about  forty  days  before 
the  birth,  the  milk  becomes  alkaline  and  incapable  of  coagu- 
lation, and  ceases  to  be  saccharine.  The  further  milking  of 
the  animal  should  then  cease.  Cows  are  usually  milked  twice 
in  the  day  throughout  the  year,  in  the  morning  and  evening, 
but  they  may  be  milked  three  times  in  the  day  when  very  full 
in  milk.  The  operation  should  be  performed  with  gentleness 
and  care,  and  the  milk  withdrawn  to  the  last  portion.  The 
first  drawn  milk  is  always  comparatively  serous,  while  every 
succeeding  quantity  improves  in  richness  and  abundance  of 
cream,  so  that  the  last  portion  contains  many  times  the  pro- 
portion of  cream  contained  in  the  first. 

The  domestic  dairy  is  directed  indifferently  to  the  procur- 
ing of  milk  for  food,  to  the  preparation  of  butter,  and  some- 
times to  the  production  of  cheese.  But  the  larger  dairies 
designed  for  the  sale  of  milk  and  its  products,  are  devoted 
more  exclusively  to  one  or  other  of  these  productions.  The 
first  class  of  dairies  consists  of  those  directed  to  the  disposal 
of  milk  in  the  fresh  state  as  human  food.  Of  this  kind  gene- 
rally are  the  dairies  in  and  around  towns.  These  are  the 
dairies  in  which  the  largest  return  is  obtained  from  the  pro- 
duce of  the  Cow.  The  second  class  consists  of  those  in  which 
the  milk  is  chiefly  employed  for  the  production  of  butter  to 
be  disposed  of  in  the  fresh  state.  These  are  the  next  in  pro- 
fitable return  to  those  in  which  the  milk  itself  is  disposed  of; 

280  THE  ox. 

and  they  are  generally  limited  to  the  vicinity  of  the  markets 
of  consumption,  or  to  places  having  easy  access  to  them. 
Where  the  market  is  remote,  or  the  access  to  it  difficult,  the 
butter,  in  place  of  being  used  in  the  fresh  state,  is  salted  for 
preservation.  The  third  kind  of  dairy  is  chiefly  employed  in 
the  preparation  of  cheese  ;  but,  for  the  most  part,  in  the  prac- 
tice of  the  dairy,  the  manufacture  of  cheese  is  combined  with 
the  preparation  of  butter  to  be  disposed  of  in  the  salted  state. 
The  interests  and  habits  of  the  dairyman  will  lead  him  to  the 
kind  of  dairy  which  he  shall  establish.  If  he  is  in  the  vicinity 
of  a  town,  he  will  generally  adopt  that  which  is  to  supply  the 
inhabitants  with  milk  in  the  natural  state.  In  this  kind  of 
dairy  the  rule  of  practice  is,  that  the  milk  shall  be  conveyed 
to  the  consumer  before  the  cream  has  separated  from  the 
liquid,  and  before  acidity  has  taken  place  by  the  formation 
of  acids.  To  prevent  ascescence  and  the  separation  of  the 
lighter  parts,  it  should  be  kept  at  the  greatest  possible  degree 
of  cold.  The  ascescence  and  coagulation  of  the  milk,  too, 
may  be  retarded  or  prevented  by  the  addition  of  an  alkaline 
carbonate,  of  which  the  most  suitable  is  carbonate  of  soda. 
The  crystallized  salt,  being  dissolved  in  two  or  three  times 
its  weight  of  cold  water,  is  to  be  mixed  with  the  milk,  until 
a  slip  of  turmeric  paper,  dipped  into  the  fluid,  retains  its 
yellow  colour,  or  rather  just  begins  to  change  its  yellow 
colour  to  brown.  And  even  when  milk  has  become  acid 
and  curdled,  it  may  have  its  properties  restored  by  this 
mean.  Milk,  too,  may  be  preserved  by  heating  it  when  taken 
from  the  Cow,  and  once  a-day  afterwards.  When  milk  is 
evaporated  to  dryness,  the  residuum,  in  the  form  of  a  powder, 
may  be  preserved  in  close  bottles ;  and  when  required  for 
use,  mixed  with  water,  to  be  formed  into  an  emulsion,  which 
is  not  very  different  in  its  flavour  and  qualities  from  the  ori- 
ginal milk ;  and  in  this  manner  the  substance  of  milk  may 
be  preserved  for  the  longest  sea-voyages  and  distant  jour- 
neys. The  trade  in  milk  in  large  towns  has  given  rise  to  a 
system  of  adulteration  which  ought  to  be  punished  as  a  fraud 
upon  the  consumer.  The  primary  adulteration  is  dilution  by 

THE  DAIRY.  281 

water,  which  is  known  to  be  practised  to  a  great  extent  in 
some  of  the  capitals  of  Europe,  and  chiefly  in  London  and 
Paris.  The  effect  is  not  confined  to  an  impairing  of  the 
nutritive  properties  of  the  milk :  it  leads  to  other  devices, 
still  more  criminal,  for  the  purpose  of  concealing  the  adul- 

The  next  destination  of  the  dairy  is  the  production  of 
Butter.  The  preparation  of  butter  is  a  simple  process,  capable 
of  being  performed  on  the  large  scale,  as  well  as  on  the  small 
by  the  domestic  inmates  of  the  household.  It  may  be  ob- 
tained either  by  separating  the  cream  from  the  milk  and 
churning  it,  or  by  churning  the  cream  and  milk  together.  By 
churning  the  cream  alone,  butter  will  be  obtained  of  better 
flavour  and  more  valued  for  domestic  use  ;  by  churning  the 
milk  without  separation  of  the  cream,  butter  will  be  obtained 
in  larger  quantity,  and,  though  not  usually  so  delicate  in  its 
fresh  state,  equally  suited  for  being  salted. 

When  butter  is  to  be  prepared  by  churning  the  cream  alone, 
the  following  is  the  method  adopted.  The  Cows  being  milked, 
the  milk  is  carried  home  to  the  dairy  in  pails  or  larger  vessels, 
into  which  the  smaller  ones  have  been  emptied,  with  the  least 
possible  delay  or  agitation  of  the  milk.  For  which  reasons, 
as  well  as  in  order  to  economize  the  time  of  the  milkers,  the 
cows  to  be  milked  may  be  driven  quietly  home  to  the  vici- 
nity of  the  dairy.  The  milk  is  passed  through  a  hair-sieve 
into  the  vessels  in  which  it  is  to  remain.  These  vessels  may 
either  consist  of  shallow  troughs  formed  of  marble  or  slate, 
of  a  size  to  contain  the  milk  of  several  cows,  and  having  an 
aperture  with  a  stopcock  at  bottom  ;  or  of  shallow  circular 
vessels  capable  of  containing  from  half  a  gallon  to  a  gallon. 
The  latter  are  made  of  wood,  but  better  of  unglazed  earthen- 
ware ;  and,  with  still  greater  advantage,  of  zinc,  or  of  cast- 
iron  softened  by  annealing,  turned  smooth  inside,  and  coated 
with  tin.  Whichever  class  of  coolers  is  employed,  the  milk 
is  emptied  into  them  to  the  depth  of  from  four  to  six  inches, 
and  the  liquid  is  left  at  rest  in  the  milk-room.  In  twenty- 

282  THE  OX. 

four  hours,  the  greater  part  of  the  cream  will  have  risen  to 
the  surface  ;  but  a  larger  quantity  will  be  obtained  if  the 
milk  is  allowed  to  stand  for  a  longer  time.  Sometimes,  in 
very  cold  weather,  it  is  permitted  to  stand  for  forty- eight 
hours  ;  but  twenty-four  will  suffice  for  obtaining  all  the  more 
valuable  part  of  the  cream.  When  the  larger  troughs  are 
used,  the  stop-cock  is  turned,  and  the  serous  milk  is  with- 
drawn from  beneath  the  cream ;  and  then  the  cream  is  in 
like  manner  withdrawn  into  a  separate  vessel ;  and  in  the 
case  of  the  smaller  coolers,  the  cream  is  skimmed  off,  which 
may  be  done  by  a  flat  perforated  dish  of  tin.  Sometimes  re- 
peated skimmings  of  the  cream  take  place,  and  sometimes 
its  separation  is  favoured  by  the  application  of  heat.  The 
apartment  for  containing  the  milk,  commonly  termed  the 
milk-room,  should  be  well  protected  from  the  effect  of  the 
sun's  rays,  and  formed  so  as  to  admit  of  easy  ventilation. 
It  should,  if  possible,  be  arched  with  brick  or  stone,  have  a 
northern  exposure,  and  be  distant  from  standing  ponds  of 
water  and  putrid  effluvia. 

The  cream  being  removed,  is  put  into  a  vessel,  frequently 
a  barrel,  but  better  a  jar  of  unglazed  earthenware,  or  vase 
of  marble.  Fresh  portions  of  cream,  from  successive  milk- 
ings  of  the  cows,  are  added,  until  a  sufficient  quantity  is  col- 
lected for  churning.  It  may  remain  a  week,  but  it  is  better 
that  the  period  should  not  exceed  four  or  five  days.  In  this 
state  the  whole  cream  becomes  acid  and  coagulates,  which 
favours  the  separation  of  the  butter  ;  and  in  order  to  produce 
coagulation,  the  acid  juice  of  lemon  may  be  added.  When 
the  necessary  quantity  of  cream  has  been  collected,  it  is  put 
into  the  churn. 

Churns  are  of  various  kinds.  The  most  common  is  the 
Plunge-churn,  as  it  is  called,  moved  by  the  hand.  It  consists 
of  a  cylindrical  vessel  of  wood  placed  upright.  The  agitation 
is  given  to  the  milk  by  a  perforated  board,  which  nearly  fits 
the  cylinder,  and  to  which  is  attached  a  long  handle.  This 
being  moved  up  and  down,  the  milk  is  agitated,  and  the  butter, 

THE  DAIRY.  283 

after  a  time,  is  separated.  The  other  kind  of  churn,  termed 
the  Barrel-churn,  consists  of  a  cylindrical  vessel  of  wood, 
placed  horizontally,  through  which,  an  axle  passes  having 
sparred  arms  or  wings,  which  are  fixed  to  it  within  the  cylin- 
der. A  handle  is  attached,  and  either  the  churn  is  moved 
round,  or  the  axle  with  its  arms  is  moved,  the  churn  remain- 
ing stationary.  Of  the  two  kinds  described,  the  best  is  the 
plunge-churn,  which  may  either  be  moved  by  the  hand,  or  be 
on  the  larger  scale,  and  driven  by  machinery. 

The  best  temperature  for  churning  is  about  56°  of  Fahren- 
heit, the  heat  of  the  milk  rising  4°  by  the  action  of  churning ; 
and  in  the  warmer  season  of  summer,  the  most  suitable  time 
for  performing  the  operation  is  in  the  cool  of  the  morning. 
In  winter,  when  the  weather  is  cold,  the  temperature  of  the 
milk  should  be  raised  to  60°  or  more,  by  the  addition  of  warm 
water.  The  time  required  for  churning  by  the  hand  varies 
from  about  an  hour  and  a  quarter  to  two  hours  ;  and  in  win- 
ter to  three  hours.  The  process  should  be  begun  gently,  so 
as  to  break  the  coagulum,  and  then  continued  equally  and 
without  intermission. 

The  butter  being  formed,  is  collected  and  removed  from 
the  churn.  It  is  then  worked  to  and  fro  on  a  board,  or 
smooth  slab,  so  as  to  express  the  serum,  dried  with  a  cloth, 
or  moderately  washed  with  water.  The  operation  of  knead- 
ing may  be  performed  by  the  hand,  but  it  is  better  done  by 
wooden  spatulse,  the  contact  of  the  hand  injuring  the  butter. 
When  the  butter  is  not  designed  for  immediate  use,  the  pres- 
sure and  washing  should  be  so  performed  as  that  all  the 
serum  shall  be  separated,  any  portion  of  it  remaining  caus- 
ing the  butter  to  spoil  in  a  short  time.  When  the  butter  is 
intended  for  sale,  it  is  mixed  with  a  little  pure  salt,  and 
formed  into  lumps  or  rolls,  usually  of  a  pound  or  half  a  pound 
each.  It  is  kept  cool,  but  in  no  case  under  water.  When 
the  butter  is  not  designed  for  present  consumption,  it  is 
more  or  less  impregnated  with  salt,  in  the  proportion  of  an 
ounce  or  less  to  the  pound.  The  salt  being  worked  into  the 

284  THE  ox. 

butter,  the  latter  is  put  in  jars  or  casks.  The  casks  should 
be  of  lime-tree,  or  other  hard  wood,  carefully  seasoned  by 
being  boiled  for  several  hours  before  being  formed  into  casks, 
and  afterwards  by  being  exposed  to  the  air,  and  well  soaked 
in  cold  water  or  brine  previous  to  use.  The  cask  being  rub- 
bed in  the  inside  with  salt,  the  butter  is  pressed  into  it,  and 
in  seven  or  eight  days  a  quantity  of  melted  butter,  or  a  satu- 
rated solution  of  salt  and  water,  may  be  poured  in  to  fill  up 
any  vacuity  between  the  butter  and  the  wood  ;  and  the  whole 
being  then  covered  with  a  layer  of  salt,  the  top  of  the  vessel 
is  put  on.  With  the  salt  employed  in  curing  may  be  mixed 
a  proportion  of  purified  nitrate  of  potash,  and  sometimes  a 
quantity  of  sugar,  which  preserves  the  butter  without  com- 
municating a  saline  taste. 

The  other  method  practised  consists  in  churning  the  milk 
and  cream  together.  In  this  case  the  milk,  as  it  is  brought 
from  the  cows,  is  put  into  the  cooling  vessels,  as  before,  in 
order  that  it  may  cool  down  quickly  to  the  temperature  of 
the  milk-house.  When  this  has  taken  place,  or  even  with- 
out the  preliminary  cooling,  the  whole  milk  is  emptied  into 
a  barrel,  where  it  remains  until  it  becomes  acid  and  coagu- 
lates. This  will  take  place  in  a  week  or  less,  according  to 
the  temperature  of  the  air.  It  is  then  put  into  the  churn, 
and  gently  churned  for  a  few  seconds,  so  as  to  break  the 
coagulum,  and  mix  its  parts  ;  and  then  a  little  hot  water  is 
added,  so  as  to  raise  the  temperature  to  70°  or  75°.  The  addi- 
tion of  hot  water  is  not  necessary,  but  it  saves  labour  by 
causing  the  butter  to  separate  more  readily.  The  process  of 
churning  is  more  laborious  than  when  the  cream  alone  is 
used ;  and  therefore  machinery  should  be  employed  to  move 
the  churn.  In  the  larger  dairies  the  churn  may  be  made  to 
contain  sixty  or  seventy  gallons  or  more,  and  this  quantity 
of  milk  may,  by  means  of  a  small  pony  or  slight  water-power, 
be  churned  in  an  hour  and  a  half. 

When  the  cream  alone  has  been  used  in  churning,  the  re- 
siduum, after  removal  of  the  cream,  is  skimmilk.  This  sub- 

THE  DAIRY.  285 

stance  still  retains  the  caseous  matter  of  the  milk,  and  may, 
therefore,  be  employed  for  the  making  of  cheese.  But  it  is 
not  so  well  suited  for  this  purpose  as  the  entire  milk,  because 
the  cream,  which  adds  to  the  richness  of  the  cheese,  has  been 
mostly  withdrawn.  It  may  be  used  for  human  food,  and  is 
perfectly  nutritious,  containing  both  the  cheesy  matter  and 
sugar  of  milk.  Over  a  large  part  of  England  it  is  chiefly 
employed  for  the  feeding  of  Hogs,  which  is  a  great  misappli- 
cation of  a  substance  fitted  for  human  aliment,  and  practised 
in  no  other  country  in  Europe. 

When  the  milk  and  cream  are  churned  together,  the  dairy 
affords  no  skimmilk,  But  in  place  of  it  there  is  the  butter- 
milk, which  is  a  greatly  more  nutritive  substance  than  that 
which  is  obtained  when  the  cream  alone  is  churned.  It  is 
merely,  in  truth,  the  milk  deprived  of  its  butter.  It  is  sub- 
acid  and  cooling,  and  is  used  for  food  in  some  of  the  western 
counties  of  England,  largely  throughout  the  west  of  Scotland, 
and  all  over  Ireland.  It  may  be  coagulated,  and  cheese  pre- 
pared from  it ;  but  the  cheese  of  buttermilk  is  of  little  esti- 
mation. When  buttermilk  is  kept,  it  partially  undergoes  the 
alcoholic  fermentation,  and  becomes  intoxicating. 

The  consumption  of  butter  in  the  British  Islands  is  prodi- 
giously great.  It  is  used  by  all  classes  in  the  solid  form  as 
a  grateful  food  ;  and  is  applied  to  the  same  purposes  of  house- 
hold economy  for  which  oil  is  used  in  the  countries  of  the 
olive.  Notwithstanding  the  vast  internal  production,  a  large 
importation  takes  place  from  other  countries,  chiefly  from 
Germany  and  Holland.  The  principal  district  of  the  butter 
dairy  in  England  is  the  southern  and  south-eastern  counties. 
Butter  is  brought  to  London  in  the  fresh  state  from  the  dis- 
tant provinces  ;  and  even  when  salted,  it  is  the  practice  of 
the  dealers  to  wash  out  the  salt,  and  sell  the  butter  to  the 
inhabitants  as  fresh. 

The  other  product  of  the  dairy  is  Cheese,  which  may  either 
be  produced  by  curdling  the  entire  milk,  or  by  separating  the 
cream  and  coagulating  the  milk  alone.  The  first  process  is 

286  THE  OX. 

the  preparation  of  the  coagulating  medium  termed  runnet  or 
rennet,  which  is  most  conveniently  derived  from  the  gastric 
juice  contained  in  the  abomasum,  or  fourth  stomach,  of  a 
sucking  calf.  "When  the  animal  is  just  killed,  this  organ 
with  the  coagulated  milk  and  chyme  which  it  contains,  is 
taken  out  to  be  preserved  by  salting  and  drying  in  the  man- 
ner of  bacon.  When  required  for  use,  it  is  cut  into  small 
pieces,  and  macerated  in  water  for  a  few  days,  and  the  liquor, 
which  is  Runnet,  is  preserved  in  bottles.  Prepared  stomachs 
of  the  calf  form  the  subject  of  commerce.  They  are  imported 
from  Ireland  under  the  name  of  Veils ;  but  every  dairyman 
should  prepare  them  for  himself,  as  in  this  way  only  he  can 
be  assured  of  the  strength  and  goodness  of  his  runnet. 

When  a  cheese  is  to  be  formed,  the  course  of  proceeding 
is  determined  by  the  quantity  of  milk  at  the  command  of  the 
dairyman.  If  there  is  a  sufficient  number  of  cows  to  make 
one  or  more  cheeses  at  each  milking,  then  the  milk,  as  it  is 
brought  from  the  cows,  is  strained  through  a  hair-sieve  into 
a  tub  or  vat,  and  while  it  is  yet  warm  the  runnet  is  added  ; 
and  if  it  shall  have  been  too  much  cooled  after  milking,  it  is 
raised  to  the  required  temperature  by  the  addition  of  hot 
water.  The  quantity  of  runnet  used  depends  upon  its  strength, 
and  this  again  on  the  method  by  which  it  has  been  prepared  ; 
so  that  no  precise  rule  exists  for  adapting  the  quantity  of 
runnet  to  that  of  the  milk  to  be  acted  upon.  It  is  used  in  all 
quantities,  from  a  table-spoonful  or  two  to  the  third  part  of 
a  pint,  the  rule  of  practice  being  to  employ  it  in  such  a  quan- 
tity, as  shall  just  suffice  to  coagulate  the  milk  in  the  space  of 
not  less  than  an  hour.  Previous  to  the  addition  of  the  run- 
net,  it  is  common,  in  the  English  dairies,  to  add  some  colour- 
ing matter,  in  order  to  give  a  red  tinge  to  the  cheese.  The 
substance  commonly  employed  is  arnotto,  which  is  derived 
from  the  red  pulp  covering  the  seeds  of  the  shrub  Bixa  Orel- 
lana,  and  is  imported  from  South  America  and  the  West 
Indian  Islands  in  the  form  of  red  balls.  It  is  dissolved  in  a 
bowl  of  milk  by  rubbing  a  small  piece  of  it  on  a  smooth  stone 

THE  DAIRY.  287 

kept  for  the  purpose,  which  causes  the  milk  to  assume  a  deep 
red  colour ;  and  the  milk  thus  coloured,  is  added  to  that  to  be 
curdled  in  the  quantity  required  to  give  it  a  deep  orange  tinge. 
The  dye  being  mixed,  the  runnet  is  added,  and  the  whole 
being  stirred,  the  vat  is  covered  with  a  thick  canvass  cloth, 
so  as  to  prevent  the  milk  from  cooling  :  the  whole  is  then  left 
at  rest,  and  the  coagulation  proceeds  to  its  termination. 

This  is  the  method  of  proceeding,  when  there  is  a  sufficient 
quantity  of  milk  at  each  milking  of  the  cows  to  form  one  or 
more  cheeses  ;  but  when  there  is  not  a  sufficient  quantity  of 
milk  for  this  purpose,  or  when  for  any  reason  the  milk  of  a  pre- 
vious collection  is  mixed  with  the  new,  then  the  older  milk  is 
to  be  heated  to  the  required  temperature  before  being  mixed 
with  the  new.  This  may  be  done  by  heating  the  old  milk 
in  a  boiler  to  the  temperature  of  about  90°,  or  better,  by 
putting  the  milk  in  a  tin  or  copper  can,  and  placing  this  in 
a  cauldron  of  boiling  water ;  or  else  by  heating  only  such  a 
portion  of  the  milk  as,  when  added  to  the  remainder,  shall 
raise  it  to  the  temperature  sought  for.  The  heated  milk  and 
the  new  being  then  mixed  together,  the  colouring  matter  and 
runnet  are  added,  the  vat  is  covered,  and  the  coagulation 
allowed  to  proceed. 

The  most  suitable  temperature  for  the  milk  to  be  curdled 
is  found  to  be  about  90°.  The  quantity  of  runnet  should  be 
so  adjusted  to  the  liquid,  as  that  the  coagulation  shall  take 
place  in  about  an  hour.  If  the  coagulation  take  place  too 
quickly,  either  from  an  excess  in  the  proportion  of  runnet,  or 
too  high  a  temperature  of  the  milk,  the  curd  produced  is  hard 
and  tough,  and  the  cheese  is  wanting  in  delicacy  of  texture 
and  flavour  ;  and  if,  on  the  other  hand,  the  strength  of  the 
runnet,  or  temperature  of  the  liquid,  is  too  small,  the  curd 
does  not  acquire  sufficient  consistence. 

The  curd  being  formed,  the  whey  is  expressed.  This  is  at 
first  done  gently,  because  otherwise,  before  the  curd  has 
acquired  consistence,  a  portion  of  the  cream  would  be  ex- 
pressed along  with  the  serum.  The  most  approved  practice 

288  THE  ox. 

is  to  cut  the  curd  quickly,  and  in  all  directions,  with  a  knife. 
A  common  table-knife  will  suffice ;  but  it  is  better  that  it  be 
formed  of  several  blades,  at  the  distance  of  an  inch  from  one 
another.  On  dividing  the  curd,  the  whey  rapidly  exudes  and 
rises  to  the  surface,  and  the  curd  subsides  to  the  bottom. 
As  soon  as  this  has  taken  place,  the  whey  is  to  be  rapidly 
removed.  This  is  done  partly  by  pouring  it  off,  and  partly 
by  baling  it  out  with  wooden  bowls,  although  it  might  be 
better  done  by  a  syphon.  The  subdivision  of  the  curd  with 
the  knife  at  the  same  time  is  continued,  and  when  all  the 
whey  that  can  be  separated  in  this  manner  is  removed,  the 
curd  is  taken  out  and  placed  on  a  long  sieve,  and  permitted 
to  drain.  When  the  whey  by  these  means  has  been  drained 
to  the  utmost,  the  curd  is  placed  on  a  board,  or  in  a  perforated 
vat.  It  is  then  minutely  comminuted  and  compressed  by  the 
hands ;  and  this  manipulation  is  continued  so  long  as  any 
whey  can  be  expressed. 

The  curd  is  then  to  be  subjected  to  the  action  of  the  cheese- 
press,  in  order  that  it  may  be  consolidated,  and  that  all  the 
further  serous  matter  may  be  expressed.  To  this  end  it  is 
pressed  into  the  mould,  which  is  a  wooden  vessel  of  the  size 
and  shape  of  the  cheese  to  be  made,  formed  generally  by  the 
turning-lathe  out  of  a  solid  block  of  wood,  and  furnished  with 
a  thick  separate  top,  of  a  size  sufficient  to  fit  the  interior  of 
the  mould.  A  linen  cloth,  to  be  folded  round  the  cheese,  is 
put  into  the  mould ;  and  the  comminuted  curd  is  heaped  into 
the  cloth,  which  is  covered  over  it,  and  the  whole  is  put 
under  the  press.  The  curd  remains  in  the  press  for  an  hour 
or  two ;  when  it  is  taken  out,  wrapped  in  a  fresh  cloth,  and 
replaced  in  the  press.  After  this  it  is  taken  out  every  six 
hours,  or  oftener,  the  same  operations  being  repeated.  In 
three  days,  or  more,  according  to  the  degree  of  previous  ma- 
nipulation, the  operation  will  be  completed.  The  pressure 
on  the  curd  should  have  been  gradually  increased  from  about 
60  Ib.  to  300  lb.,  or  more. 

The  cheese  has  now  to  be  removed  to  a  warm  apartment. 

THE  DAIRY.  289 

If  it  has  not  been  previously  salted,  which  may  have  been 
done  either  by  salting  the  curd,  or  by  rubbing  the  cheese 
with  salt  each  time  it  was  taken  out  of  the  press,  it  is  now 
to  be  salted.  To  this  end,  it  is  to  be  rubbed  with  salt  daily 
for  eight  or  ten  days.  It  may  likewise  be  washed  once  or 
twice  with  hot  water,  and  finally  rubbed  with  butter,  so  as 
to  soften  the  external  surface,  and  prevent  its  cracking.  It 
is  then  placed  in  the  store-room,  on  a  shelf,  where  it  remains 
until  disposed  of.  It  is  for  a  time  to  be  turned  daily,  and 
the  skin  is  to  be  kept  clean  and  soft,  by  anointing  and  brush- 
ing it.  The  cheese  apartment  should  be  moderately  cool, 
and  be  ventilated  without  admitting  any  current  of  wind.  It 
should  be  kept  exceedingly  clean,  and  the  walls  and  other 
parts  should  be  frequently  washed  with  a  solution  of  chloride 
of  lime,  so  as  to  destroy  effluvia,  and  prevent  the  multiplica- 
tion of  insects  which  deposit  their  eggs  in  the  cheese. 

When  cheese  of  peculiar  richness  is  required,  the  prac- 
tice is  to  add  a  further  quantity  of  cream  to  the  milk  to  be 
curdled  than  that  which  itself  produces  :  thus  the  cream  of 
one  milking  is  added  to  the  milk  of  the  following  one,  which 
is  made  into  curd.  By  this  mean  the  milk  for  each  cheese 
has  not  only  its  own  cream,  but  that  of  the  previous  milking. 
There  is  waste  in  this  practice,  but  the  higher  price  of  the 
cheese  compensates  the  dairyman.  In  this  manner  are  made 
the  rich  cheeses  of  Stilton,  Cottenham,  and  Southam,  usually 
termed  cream-cheeses.  The  process  is,  after  having  milked 
the  cows  in  the  morning,  to  skim  off  the  cream  of  the  pre- 
vious evening,  and  mix  it  with  the  new  milk.  The  runnet 
being  added,  the  coagulation  is  allowed  to  take  place  in  the 
usual  manner,  with  this  difference,  that  the  temperature  of 
the  milk  is  kept  somewhat  lower,  and  the  coagulation  more 
slowly  produced.  To  retain  the  cream,  too,  the  whey  is 
more  cautiously  separated,  and,  in  place  of  the  strong  pres- 
sure of  the  cheese-press,  the  cheese  is  pressed  with  cloths 
bound  round  it.  In  the  preparation  of  the  cheese  called 
Stilton,  which  is  the  most  esteemed  of  this  class,  the  curd, 


290  THE  OX. 

after  being  formed,  is  gently  lifted  out  of  the  vat  and  placed 
on  a  sieve.  When  the  whey  is  strained  off,  the  curd  is  care- 
fully compressed  by  the  hand  till  it  has  become  dry  and  firm, 
and  then  placed  in  a  box  or  mould.  It  is  afterwards  set  on 
a  dry  board,  and  bound  round  with  fillets  of  linen  cloth, 
which  are  tightened  as  occasion  requires.  The  ends  of  the 
cheese  are  carefully  brushed,  and  when  the  cloths  are  re- 
moved, the  sides  are  treated  in  the  same  manner ;  and  this 
manipulation  is  continued  for  two  or  three  months.  Some- 
times the  curd  is  hung  upon  nets,  but  the  cheeses  formed  in 
this  way  are  not  so  much  valued  as  those  which  are  made  in 

Another  class  of  cheeses  consists  of  those  which  are  made 
after  a  separation  of  the  cream,  usually  termed  skimmilk 
cheeses.  They  are  less  oily,  and  consequently  less  valued 
than  the, others  ;  but  they  are  nearly  equally  nutritious,  and 
are  largely  consumed  in  the  recent  state  by  the  less  opulent 
classes.  They  withstand  the  heat  of  warm  climates  better 
than  the  richer  kinds,  are  less  subject  to  injury  from  the 
larvce  of  insects,  and  are  better  suited,  accordingly,  to  the 
victualling  of  ships.  They  should  be  made  in  the  same  man- 
ner as  the  full-milk  cheeses,  with  equal  attention  to  the  slow 
coagulation  of  the  milk,  to  the  careful  separation  of  the 
whey,  and  the  gradual  pressure  on  the  curd. 

Cheese  is  produced  in  almost  every  part  of  the  United 
Kingdom  ;  but  its  quality  varies  greatly  in  different  districts, 
according  to  the  care  with  which  the  manipulation  is  per- 
formed, and  the  skill  derived  from  experience.  The  manu- 
facture is  more  especially  carried  on  in  the  country  north 
and  west  of  the  line  extending  from  the  Wash  to  Somerset- 
shire. The  centre  of  the  principal  cheese-district  of  the 
south-western  division  of  the  kingdom,  is  the  county  of 
Gloucester,  where  the  rich  vales  of  the  Severn  and  the  Avon 
are  depastured  by  extensive  herds  of  dairy  cows.  The  cheese 
of  Gloucester  is  of  two  kinds,  the  single  and  the  double. 
The  first  is  made  with  new  milk  in  the  morning,  to  which 

THE  DAIRY.  291 

is  added  the  milk  of  the  previous  evening  deprived  of  its 
cream,  which  is  made  into  butter.  The  single  Gloucester, 
therefore,  contains  only  half  the  natural  cream  of  the  milk ; 
yet  it  is  so  admirably  made,  that  it  excels  that  of  other  dis- 
tricts where  the  whole  cream  is  consumed.  The  double 
Gloucester,  the  greater  part  of  which  is  produced  in  the  hun- 
dred of  Berkley,  is  made  of  the  milk  with  all  its  natural 
cream.  It  is  the  most  generally  esteemed  kind  of  cheese 
produced  in  England,  possessing  all  the  richness  that  ought 
to  be  required,  with  a  mild  and  grateful  flavour.  Although 
Gloucestershire  still  retains  its  pre-eminence,  the  same  kind 
of  cheese  is  produced  in  all  the  neighbouring  counties.  The 
Berkley  cheeses  are  purchased  by  the  cheese-factor  about 
Michaelmas  :  he  judges  of  the  quality  by  the  blue  colour  of 
the  skin  appearing  through  the  red  dye  with  which  their 
surface  is  tinged :  he  used  to  walk  over  each  cheese ;  if  it 
yielded  to  the  pressure  of  the  foot,  it  was  said  to  be  heaved, 
and  was  rejected  as  unfit  for  the  London  market.  The  Vale 
of  Berkley  alone  is  computed  to  produce  annually  from  a 
thousand  to  twelve  hundred  tons  of  these  unrivalled  cheeses. 

From  Gloucester  the  manufacture  of  cheese,  on  the  large 
scale,  extends  into  Oxfordshire,  and  up  the  Avon  into  Wa